COMPASSION, EDUCATION, & LOVE
Our society is finally beginning to change and it’s time to listen, learn, and love. We need to come together as a community. However, to do that we have to learn to be compassionate, even with people we disagree with. We should not look at people with different ideas, beliefs and lifestyles as the enemy. Compassion and kindness allow us to learn and educate.
As society continues to change and evolve we must be willing to learn. As we open our ears and our minds, our city will thrive and grow, and so will each of us. Creating an environment of love brings people together and produces a community more welcoming and liberating for everybody.
Love is the brightest flame of liberty, and lights the way for a robust culture and community. It is through compassion, education and love, that we change the culture of society and make our world a better place.
In order to better support our residents, we need to bring in new businesses and jobs that will help stimulate the local economy. The City of North Adams needs to work and find business partners to come join our community.
Ideally, we must pursue business that will provide jobs with quality wages for our residents and attract new residents to our city. We have a lot of selling points, including Williams College next door, the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, and Charles H. McCann Technical High School. If we create more economic opportunity some of these students may decide to stay in North Adams instead of leaving to find employment elsewhere.
We must also look at selling any properties which the city currently manages and consider making those properties available for investors and business.
Owning and running a business is difficult. Going to work every day and living paycheck to paycheck is stressful and tiresome. In order for our city to grow and prosper we must focus on bringing new career opportunities and new business to North Adams.
Our young people often go off to college and never come back. Over time, this youth flight means that we have a shrinking tax base. We need to create an environment where our youth have buy-in, real opportunities and feel like they can thrive here. We also need to attract new people to live here, which would increase our tax base. Many people will appreciate how accepting, kind and beautiful our little city is, and they will come to find North Adams to be home. There once was this idea of the “American Dream” where opportunities for success were abundant and wealth could be obtained by anyone. Here in our community, people don’t feel like those types of opportunities exist. We must bring in careers that allow the people in our city to be paid well and provide some financial security for their families and loved ones.
There is an opportunity in our community to become an epicenter for great careers and for new businesses to thrive. We have ready-to-go infrastructure that businesses could utilize to begin operations immediately. There needs to be a smarter, easier way for new business to open in North Adams. We have educational institutions that could train new workforces for years to come. There are ordinances and regulations that make things more difficult than they need to be. If we can make some small changes they will have a profoundly positive effect on helping revitalize our downtown and bring new business into our city. We must bring the community, business, and our educational institutions together and create a plan that will allow North Adams to begin growing and reaching its potential.
We need to look at the root causes of mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, addiction, and domestic violence. Some of those are directly linked to lack of economic opportunities.
When people have financial hardships it can directly affect their mental health while also making it a financial burden to seek help for their mental health issues.
Finding ways to partner with our state to increase access via public transportation to other areas close by and even the rest of the state at large will help with economic opportunity and increase access to mental health care.
In order to create an environment of growth and prosperity we must be able to talk about mental health. As we have learned throughout this ongoing pandemic, our mental wellness is imperative to our survival. Every human being faces challenges and obstacles in their lives and we must end “the stigma” around staying silent and asking for help.
In our society many people have learned that asking for help and talking about our problems and emotions is a sign of weakness. In order to be strong and escape, people turn to substances or other outlets. Alcohol and drug abuse, domestic violence, self-harm, and suicide are among these. We turn to these outlets when we feel the need to escape. In turn, we cause harm to ourselves, our loved ones, and our community. It is okay to ask for help. It is okay to be vulnerable. It is okay to share our emotions.
As a community we need to increase access and awareness to mental health services and those who are able to help. Telehealth and increasing access to providers and professionals must be a priority for our community. Increasing trust, acceptance, empathy, and awareness can and will save lives. Together we must end the stigma and support each other with kindness, compassion, and love.
WATER & SEWER
Those of us who live in North Adams have become accustomed to frequent interruptions in our water services. This is because our water and sewer system is outdated by decades and the cost to repair is far greater than the funds we will be able to pay by ourselves. These circumstances have led to brown or dirty water, water main breaks, rat infestations, and in the worst cases there is no water at all. We have also seen that our lack of maintenance has caused disruptions in emergency services such as the inability to use a significant amount of fire hydrants throughout the city.
Currently, when new damage arises in our water and sewer system, funds must be shifted from other areas or borrowed just to resume normal operations. We won’t be able to replace our water and sewer system in two years. However, we can begin the process of funding studies, blueprints, and other necessary requirements to have a shovel ready project. Once we reach this status, we can begin securing the funding necessary to replace our water and sewer system. Another step we can take is to create an enterprise account that can only be drawn from for sewer and water related maintenance projects.
I will fight to ensure that our water and sewer infrastructure is a top priority until it is replaced. We should never have to wonder if our fire hydrants are operational or drinking water is safe for use. By modernizing this infrastructure, we can ensure that the residents will have quality water and sewer services for the next century. Replacing our water and sewer system will allow us to begin growing, and bring new people, businesses, and opportunities to North Adams.
POLICE & FIRE STATIOIN
Our public safety officials put their lives at risk for us at a moment’s notice. Yet, during a tour of our public safety buildings, officials pointed out environmental conditions that were completely unacceptable, inadequate, outdated, and hazardous. These buildings were constructed in a different generation and no longer have enough room for all of their equipment and vehicles, as they have become larger throughout the decades.
Since these buildings were designed long before women were allowed to serve as officers or firefighters, they do not have separate locker rooms and facilities for women. The buildings are not up to code for ADA or for electrical/wiring compliance creating unsafe and obstructive barriers for employees and the general public. Our city has provided little investment over the years to upgrade or make the buildings current. The cost to fix these mounting issues will now be greater than the cost of a new facility.
The first step is conducting studies and finding a location for a new public safety building. Once we have completed these steps, we can start the blueprinting process and save funds to get this project into a shovel ready status. Then, we can begin applying for funding from outside sources such as state and federal grants. These are short term goals we can accomplish in the next term. We must immediately explore enterprise account options that include maintenance dollars in our annual budget specifically dedicated to the upkeep of our public safety buildings. Let's take care of North Adams and provide the adequate tools and facilities we need for our city to grow and prosper.