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Ashland Street Apartment Building Mural to Be Painted in June
By Jack Guerino, iBerkshires Staff
12:56AM / Wednesday, May 26, 2021
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A mural by artist Gaia will be painted on the north side of the high rise beginning in June.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Housing Authority Director Jennifer Hohn was excited to announce to the board of commissioners on Monday that work on the proposed Ashland Park Apartments mural should begin June 11.
 
"It will be starting up in a few weeks," she said. "It will be awesome."
 
It was announced in 2020 that artist Gaia was commissioned for the mural that will be installed on the north side of the high-rise building.  
 
The mural was influenced by the input of more than 200 survey responses by building and community residents.
 
The mural is also inspired by horticulturalist Lue Gim Gong, a Chinese immigrant who, after moving to the state of Florida from North Adams, developed the Valencia orange in 1911.
 
The mural is part of of the Ashland Street Initiative, a project to enhance and beautify the area between downtown North Adams and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Inspired by the Eagle Street Initiative, the citizens' group behind that project, NAMAzing, teamed with Common Folk Artist Collective, Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, and the city to bring some of the same placemaking and artistic touches to the Ashland corridor. 
 
The commission also discussed a proposed change within NAHA that would allow tenants to pay their rent directly to the bank online or even at Walmart.
 
"This is a great thing and if we can remove any barrier to payment, even if it psychological," Commissioner Kate Merrigan said. 
 
Program Manager Lisa LaBonte gave a fire update and said the restoration process at the Greylock Apartments should begin shortly. 
 
"That work should begin in the next couple of weeks," she said. "They are waiting on a few things."
 
In January, an apartment block in the Greylock Valley Apartments was severely damaged by fire leaving several families homeless.
 
LaBonte said NAHA are still housing two displaced tenants and another two are being housed at the Holiday Inn.
 
Information technology manager Jason Morin said he has made some progress on establishing free internet for all residents in NAHA. 
 
"I am still trying to line all the ducks up," he said. "There are a lot of parts to this project, but it is looking good."
 
He said he has received a proposal from Dojo Networks, which has provided different cost tiers and ways to implement the wifi throughout the buildings. He said there also may be grant opportunities available.
 
Morin said he could have a proposal for the commission to vote on next month.
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