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Macksey Updates on Eagle Street Demo and Myriad City Projects
By Tammy Daniels, iBerkshires Staff
06:33AM / Saturday, March 16, 2024
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The upper floors of the Moderne Studio building are being carefully removed to prevent its collapse on the adjacent building.

The roof was taken off by crane in sections.

The back of Moderne Studio in late January. The mayor said the city had begun planning for its removal if the owner could not address the problems. 
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Moderne Studio building is coming down brick by brick on Eagle Street on the city's dime. 
Concerns over the failing structure's proximity to its neighbor — just a few feet — means the demolition underway is taking far longer than usual. It's also been delayed somewhat because of recent high winds and weather. 
The city had been making plans for the demolition a month ago because of the deterioration of the building, Mayor Jennifer Macksey told the City Council on Tuesday. The project was accelerated after the back of the 150-year-old structure collapsed on March 5
Initial estimates for demolition had been $190,000 to $210,000 and included asbestos removal. Those concerns have since been set aside after testing and the mayor believes that the demolition will be lower because it is not a hazardous site.
"We also had a lot of contractors who came to look at it for us to not want to touch it because of the proximity to the next building," she said. "Unfortunately time ran out on that property and we did have the building failure. 
"And it's an unfortunate situation. I think most of us who have lived here our whole lives and had our pictures taken there and remember being in the window so, you know, we were really hoping the building could be safe."
Macksey said the city had tried working with the owner, who could not find a contractor to demolish the building, "so we found one for him."
The administration is using American Rescue Plan Act funds for the demolition, which is putting another project on hold, said the mayor, who did not reveal which project. 
The goal is to get the building to a "safe place" where the owner can take over the structure.
The mayor also updated the council on a lengthy number of infrastructure projects, including a $2 million project for a failing retaining wall on Walnut Street and repairs to the YMCA roof that is "moving along very well."
"We are still aiming for an end of the month completion. That is all dependent on the weather," she said, adding, "we are in the process as the YMCA is moving out of that building to evaluate the building and determine what we are going to do with that."
The city expects to hear soon about an application to the Hazard Mitigation Assistance program for repairs to the Mount Williams and Notch reservoirs following an engineering assessment done through a previous grant. 
• Some $1.2 million state funds from the July 10 storm last year will go to engineering and repairs along Houghton and Brooklyns streets. A road project for North Eagle, Houghton, Owens and Brooklyn using Chapter 90 road funds is out to bid, as is a bid for a temporary bridge at Brown Street. And engineering has been completed for a road repairs around Hall, Grove, Prospect and Chase streets. 
• The city is working with the federal delegation to get $700,000 in funds released for the Army Corps of Engineers' study of the Hoosic River flood control. 
• Tighe & Bond is doing a lead pipe inventory that will lead to construction and a brownfield inventory is being completed to prepare for the next round of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency funds. The city's information system is in need of updating and the mayor said she may be coming to council for some support. 
• A request for proposals has been issued for Sullivan School and there are "some very interested parties," said the mayor, adding that there will be a neighborhood meeting once some proposals are received.  
• The Mohawk Theater marquee still needs some lights fixed but the goal is to have it lit for First Friday on April 1. 
• A collaboration is underway with Tourists on a Blackinton parking lot development using a grant and the city is working with the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission on some funding grant opportunities for Heritage State Park. 
• Also being explored is a new elevator at City Hall, new parking kiosks and engineering on the City Yard and City Hall roofs, assessments of playgrounds and the Christopher Columbus Bridge, and the cost for a new transfer station scale. MassBroadband and Green Communities grants are being worked on and a Mass Preservation grant for the library's belvedere was submitted this week. 
• The state Department of Transportation is engineering repairs for the Veterans Memorial Bridge. 
• The Police Department received a Strong Communities grant for Flex public safety software to track policies and procedures. The mayor said this will aid in becoming a certified police department. Dispatch has recently shifted to the new headquarters and the city has applied for a grant for Phase 2, which will include portable radios.  
"We're very busy here even though people don't think we are," said Macksey. "There's probably 10-30 other projects that we're working on. But those are the questions that I get from people — what's going on with this, what's going on with that?"  
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