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Berkshire Community Seeks More Aid For Irene Recovery

By Lucas Willard


Pittsfield, MA – Earlier this month, the North Adams City Council approved $2.2 million in borrowing to cover the costs associated with Tropical Storm Irene. FEMA is reimbursing the 75% of the repairs associated with tropical storm Irene, leaving over $500,000 up to the city.
But local leaders are saying 75% isn't enough. Massachusetts 1st District Representative Gail Cariddi informed the City Council Tuesday that she hopes the state can cover the remaining 25% with funds from a supplemental budget in January.
Cariddi says that she's not alone on this - she has rallied the support of 17 other representatives in her proposal to the House Ways and Means Committee to request more funding.
While most of the major repair work in Western Massachusetts has been completed - including the six-mile stretch of route 2 that was reopened earlier this month by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation -cities and towns are still dealing smaller projects that add up. North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright
Alcombright explained that two roads will remain closed until completed. Crest Street in North Adams was washed out by flooding, and will cost an estimated $1.2 million to complete the project. The city will need to supply about $305,000 for the repair. Alcombright hopes the road will be repaired by March. Another road leading to the Natural Bridge State Park is also waiting to be engineered and repaired.
Earlier this month, a break in a water main located along the Hoosic River was caused in part by severe erosion from Tropical Storm Irene. The break caused supply problems for the West End of North Adams and the East End of Williamstown.
Alcombright remains optimistic that the Patrick Administration will hear communities' calls for more aid.
If the city does not receive more aid, North Adams will have to borrow to cover the remaining cost of the repairs since the late August storm.