The Story Behind Our Request

This summer we made encouraging progress in our efforts to re-establish the river as the heart of the North Adams community. As you may recall, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers accepted the City of North Adams’ request to have the Corps create a plan to modernize our aging flood control system. To take the next step, funding of the three-year study is needed. The Corps requires a 50% local contribution: $1.5 million, which will come from the City and State. This will be matched by $1.5 million in funding from the Federal Government. We are working with our federal and state elected officials to secure these funds:

  • Senators Warren and Markey, along with Representative Neal succeeded in getting a request for the Federal share in the FY2023 Capital Budget; that vote will take place by December 31 of this year and we are confident it will pass.
  • On November 9 the North Adams City Council voted unanimously in favor of a $500,000 bond issuance for a portion of the local share of the cost of the Study.
  •  The goal is to have the State provide the $1 million balance required.

The Problem

Thanks to the advocacy of former Senator Hinds and Representative Barrett, an Environmental Bond Bill, including $1 million for the North Adams flood resilience project, is on Governor Baker’s desk. That $1 million from the State is needed to fulfill the local contribution, and can only be released by the Governor. But, Governor Baker has NOT yet said: “OK, let’s get this money to North Adams.” The Governor leaves office in December, so we have only a few weeks to convince him to allocate those funds to North Adams. Unfortunately, the U.S. Army Corps will not begin the Study without all funds in place.

Our Request

Please write an email to Governor Baker this week to tell him that North Adams needs this funding now! You can email through the State’s website (scroll to the bottom of the page to enter your contact information and email message) to tell his administration that North Adams needs his help. You may say or write your own message, or you may use the script below. Alternatively, you may call (617) 725-4005 and simply read the first paragraph below.

Dear Governor Baker, 

Through the efforts of Rep. John Barrett and the late Gailanne Cariddi, the Legislature secured over $6 million dollars in bond authorization funding in the Environmental Bond Bill. That authorization is to address North Adams’ failing 70 year old flood control system. We ask that you release $1 million dollars of that authorization so the City of North Adams can move forward with this crucial project. 

We stress that this is not just an aesthetic improvement project; it is a community environmental safety project that will positively affect the whole northern Berkshire area. For that reason, there is support for this allocation among the whole Berkshire delegation. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is poised to begin its $3 million dollar Feasibility Study to create the necessary modernization plan for the City. The 50% Federal Commitment is being addressed by Congressman Neal and our two Senators. For its 50% share, our still struggling city is contributing $500,000. But North Adams needs your help with its share of the Feasibility Study cost; that $1 million from the Environmental Bond Bill is the only thing that prevents us from assuring the Corps that all the funding is in place. The deadline for a FY23 start of the Study is December 31, 2022. 

You know this area well, Governor Baker, and you know how precious to our fledgling renaissance is MASS MoCA. We highlight for you that MoCA is especially threatened by the effects of climate change on this collapsing system. Five 20 foot-wide concrete wall panels have fallen and seven more are leaning. The most recent panel to fall is adjacent to MASS MoCA Building 6 where the State has invested over $60 million dollars!!!  

 In closing, we note that flood risk also threatens neighborhoods adjacent to the Hoosic River, areas which the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs has designated as Environmental Justice populations. 

Thank you for your consideration and action.

[Your Name]