NORTH ADAMS — There soon might be a shortlist of places for a new public safety building.
The story so far: A working group is narrowing a list of about 10 sites for a new public safety building, Mayor Tom Bernard told city councilors Tuesday night.
The building is at the end of a “deferred maintenance challenge that is decades in the making,” Bernard said. “One that has involved a number of expensive Band-Aids over the years.”
Why it matters: The aging building, built in the 1950s, is not compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. A complaint that it is not handicap accessible led to a 2012 settlement agreement with the Department of Justice, in which the city agreed to make a long list of fixes to make the city more accessible.
There also are concerns about the building’s water and holding cells. Last winter, the heat in the building’s basement stopped working.
NORTH ADAMS — For weeks now, police have used space heaters to keep the basement of the city…
What’s next?: “We’re still reviewing the information and the next steps, based on the conversation we had last week, and I look forward to bringing forward some of that information to you at an upcoming meeting,” Bernard told councilors.
He referenced state Auditor Suzanne Bump’s recent report on infrastructure challenges in rural areas, which said many Western Massachusetts communities have outdated buildings, and most can’t finance repairs without help.
It’s rescue time for rural Massachusetts, state Auditor Suzanne Bump declared Monday, as her department releases evidence of inequitable government investment in the western part of the state.
Bernard said he reached out to Bump. “I invited her to North Adams, should she need a case study and demonstration project for why this level of investment is so necessary.”
In other city infrastructure news: At the same meeting, Bernard told councilors that, of the 50 broken fire hydrants set to be replaced, 43 are done. Last winter, broken hydrants delayed firefighters in their efforts to fight at least two fires.