NORTH ADAMS -- After four years of engaging the community in conversations about the future design of the city’s flood chutes, the Hoosic River Revival Coalition will give the public its first look at preliminary designs during tonight’s City Council meeting.
The plans, which include designs for several locations in downtown along the Hoosic River, would not only create a more natural riverbed, but also add public green spaces like riverside parks, playgrounds and a dog park. Plans also include changes that would make the river accessible for recreation.
"All of the drawings that we’ll be showing are of the potential modifications to the flood chutes, which all are designed with the goal of maintaining flood protection," Judy Grinnell, coalition founder and chairwoman, said Monday. "We’ve adopted the same protection criteria as the Army Corps of Engineers: You can modify, but only if it is done in a way that will maintain that same amount of flood protection as the chutes currently do."
Grinnell will joined at the meeting, which will be televised beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Northern Berkshire Community Television Channel 17, by James MacBroom, senior vice president of Milone & MacBroom; Mark Arigoni, landscape architect with Milone & MacBroom; and Cindy Delpapa, steering committee member and a river ecologist with the state Division of Ecological Restoration.
"Mr. MacBroom will talk about the flood chute modifications, and Mr. Arigoni will be talking about modifications along the corridor that could enhance the downtown," she said. "Cindy Delpapa, who is on our board, has described us as a priority project. We’ll have a 28- to 30-slide PowerPoint presentation, which will update the City Council on where we’ve been and bring them up to date with what we’ve been doing since we’ve started. The final eight slides will be of preliminary designs."
Grinnell stressed that the designs are "options" that are a jumping off point for more conversations, as the group hopes to make the presentation to community groups throughout the fall and winter, ending with community conversations similar to the one the coalition hosted in 2010.
"This is not a master plan," she said. "In some cases, it’s more like a 20-year plan, where to make any changes, we would need more land along the river than the city currently owns. In some cases, there would have to be land takings. In the planning world, it’s called a place holder. When one of the buildings [currently on the land used in the plans] comes up for sale, should the city agree with one of these ideas, it would allow for conversations to take place. If you don’t have work like this done in advance, you lose out on opportunities."
In addition to the update from the Hoosic River Revival Coalition, the council will also consider an ordinance amendment establishing payment agreements for tax title properties, as well as two orders allowing the mayor, on behalf of the city, to accept the gift of a Zamboni from Williams College and the gift of an iPad 2 from Ayacht Technology.