I was at this month’s Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on July 15 and had the opportunity to listen to the many obstacles Eric Rudd has overcome in his efforts to reuse and restore the First Methodist church into a nonprofit art museum.
I applaud Mr. Rudd for investing in a nearly dilapidated historical building in our downtown and giving it new life, and also for choosing to make a stand for his beliefs and not add any more pavement to the downtown area.
Mr. Rudd is thinking outside the box and the comfort zone of most. By not adding parking spaces at the proposed museum and utilizing existing infrastructure the city has (38 percent of our downtown area is dedicated to parking, 2,390 spots to be exact), he is embracing changes the city needs, like more green space. This forward thinking is a great idea, as it will encourage people to spend more time walking in our downtown, offering an increase in walkability and potential sales to local businesses.
Thankfully, the Zoning Board of Appeals passed the parking variance and Mr. Rudd can continue to focus on the future opening of his art museum. Mr. Rudd, thank you for having patience and perseverance and thank you for believing in the city of North Adams. Also thank you to the Zoning Board who was able to step up to the plate and pass the parking variance putting North Adams one step closer to becoming a more walkable and environmentally friendly community.