NORTH ADAMS -- Mayor Richard J. Alcombright called for the city to keep moving forward at a campaign event Tuesday night.
Alcombright, who is running for his third term as mayor, covered numerous accomplishments the city has seen in the past several years, along with his administration's plans for the future.
"I heard a quote on the television the other day that totally sums up where we are and why I want to continue -- ‘You can't create the future by clinging to the past,' " he told a large crowd at Public Eat and Drink.
Alcombright said his administration has also acted to retain essential social services in the city in a new Health and Human Services Center.
"I acted quickly when rumors once again began to run wild about the [Registry of Motor Vehicles] closing," he added. "I received a letter of commitment from Registrar Kapralien that our office will remain open."
Additional police reinforcements were brought into the city this summer and resulted in numerous arrests, Alcombright said, adding that policing will continue.
A Prescription Drug/Heroin Addiction Task Force, of which Alcombright is a part of, raise awareness about addiction and drug use, he said.
The city continues to become a cultural destination with the birth of two music festivals at Mass MoCA -- Wilco's Solid Sound, which drew 7,000, and Fresh Grass bluegrass festival, which drew 4,000.
The city also has moved forward in education, he said.
"Thanks to so many of you, we will be opening a beautiful new state-of-the-art facility for our K-7th graders in September of 2015 -- some $30 million dollars invested in our schools that will end up costing the city just over $6 million," Alcombright said.
The city continues to remain affordable despite recent increases in taxes, he said, adding they were necessary to keep the city's services funded.
Other successes Alcombright identified included the opening or expansion of more than 30 businesses in the city since January 2011 and the unveiling of a new Master Plan in the first quarter of next year.
Alcombright also responded to criticism from his opponent, former City Councilor Robert Moulton, Jr.
"He talks about downtown revitalization and that all I have done are benches and pocket parks, and that I use social events to mask the problems in our business district," he said. "My guess is that he works in Bennington way too much to have not realized that the vacancy rate in our downtown is the lowest it has been in two decades," Alcombright said.
Alcombright took issue with Moulton dismissing the city's master planning processes, and his using the 1995 Hyatt-Palma report as a stepping off point for revitalization.
"Either he has not read the report or is not qualified to understand its concepts based on 20-year-old assumptions," he said.
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