Skate park, Armory Building targeted for Community Development Block Grant funds


NORTH ADAMS — The continued development of a skate park on State Street and a final phase of improvements to the Armory Building on Ashland Street are among the projects the city has targeted for Community Development Block Grant funding.

At a public hearing on Tuesday, the city announced that it will seek $276,000 in federal funding for the first phase of the planned skate park installation at Noel Field on State Street.

The skate park, estimated to cost $676,000 to finish the design and build, would be also be funded by a $400,000 Parkland Acquisition and Renovations for Communities (PARC) Grant recently awarded to the city. "All the stars are starting to align and that's the way that we've been forging ahead," Nuvallie said.

The city will also use $313,000 to continue renovations to the parking areas around the armory building.

Community Development Block Grants are federal funds distributed by the state to local communities. North Adams is a "mini-entitlement" community guaranteed a certain level of funding every year.

The 18-month fiscal 2016 CDBG program will begin on July 1; the city's application or funding is due in February. The city will seek $825,000 in funding, the maximum available to it.

The construction of the skate park is the final step in a years-long process that included a feasibility study, according to Community Development Director Michael Nuvallie. It will be the only park of its kind in North Adams.

Following the skate park's construction, the city hopes to expand its efforts in Noel Field by renovating its basketball courts and creating a splash park. It plans to expand parking by demolishing the former Modern Liquors building, which was gifted to the city by Jack Wadsworth last year.

"By opening up that plot of land, that area, it now allows us to go back to the drawing board right now and maybe tweak the design a bit," Nuvallie said.

The city will also use this round of CDBG funding to enter phase 11 of renovations to the Armory Building on Ashland Street. The final phase of construction will largely focus on improvements to parking around the building.

"Parking is very lacking there, and with the existence of the youth basketball league, parking is at a severe premium," Nuvallie said.

The city will continue its search for an anchor tenant at the armory and envisions the building as the future hub of multiple nonprofits and agencies that will serve youth, the elderly, and veterans. A request for proposals from potential anchor tenants issued by the city last year drew some interest but no formal responses, according to Nuvallie.

For the fifth year in a row, the city will also seek CDBG money to provide local social service agencies with a small amount of funding. It plans to fund five agencies at $5,000 each, a drop since the last round.

"We did have to prioritize, but I want everyone to know that reinstating those dollars about four years ago was very important to me and to Mike [Nuvallie]," Alcombright said.

The city also hopes to allocate $52,500 of CDBG money on demolitions, enough to take down approximately four houses, Nuvallie said.

The smallest funded project will be $10,000 for an update to the city's historical inventory in keeping with the standards of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376.


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