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North Adams Authority Reviewing Sales Option for Heritage Park
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
01:59PM / Saturday, May 06, 2017
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Redevelopment Authority on Friday reviewed an agreement to sell Western Gateway Heritage State Park and the adjacent Sons of Italy property. 
 
Thomas Kren's Extreme Model Railroad and Contemporary Architecture Museum was planned to go into the long Building 4 at Western Gateway Heritage State Park. But since the initial press conference announcing the project nearly 15 months ago, the concept has grown beyond the tight confines of the existing historic park.
 
Officials with for-profit museum looked south to the former Sons property purchased by the Redevelopment Authority several years ago to ensure parking for the park. An update last month laid out the museum plans, which still includes a "museum of time" in Building 4, the current Hoosac Tunnel museum, a distillery and related retail establishments.
 
The park also includes the North Adams Museum of History and Science and Freight Yard Pub; Northern Berkshire Community Television oved out of its location last year. 
 
The review of the draft option was taken in executive session and the authority board came into open session after an hour of discussion to vote to adjourn.
 
Mayor Richard Alcombright said the authority "went through the options line by line and made some recommendations to attorney [Michael] MacDonald who will then make some edits and go back to the other folks."
 
MacDonald was retained by the authority last month to negotiate on its behalf. The city solicitor, John Derosa, seats on the board of the North Adams Partnership, a partner in the development of Heritage Park with EMRCA.
 
Alcombright anticipated meeting again on May 11. He earlier said details still need to be ironed out with the state Department of Conservation and Recreation and the Department of Housing and Community Development, both of which have stakes in the 32-year-old park. 
 
The property, he said, includes everything from West Main Street south to Apkins scrap yard. 
 
Heritage Park was established in the 1985 in a National Register Freight Yard District, preserving buildings that had become rundown as the use of rail was reduced in the decades after World War II. It's one of several parks across the state designed to celebrate the state's heritage, particularly its industrial and manufacturing past.  
 
The Heritage Park System was developed under Gov. Michael Dukakis, now a partner along with former Gov. William Weld, in the model railroad museum. 
 
Alcombright also said the Redevelopment Authority would be hearing the results of a study done through Community Compact funding to better understand its role and capabilities.
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