N. Adams Council Puts Johnson School Up For Sale
iBerkshires.com reports the North Adams City Council gave the OK for Mayor Thomas Bernard to solicit proposals for Johnson School on Tuesday.
The 125-year-old building is currently occupied by Berkshire County Head Start, which is planning to move to the United Cerebral Palsy building on Curran Highway.
Bernard said Head Start had a three-year lease with two one-year extensions and has exercised the final extension that will expire at the end of next July to provide plenty of time for their relocation.
"We'll put out the purchase and sale with the understanding that the close date would have to be as of Aug. 1, 2020," he said. "So that anybody who's purchasing it can do their due diligence, get ready and be able to close as soon as Head Start moves out, which would immediately put the property on the tax list."
The mayor, in response to questions, said the city would solicit requests for proposals as in the past — along with 367 Houghton St. and rebid Sullivan School and the watershed land in Pownal, Vt. — that the zoning would remain residential and that the city was interested in selling it and getting it on the tax rolls, not demolishing it, as had been tossed about on Facebook.
The council also approved 367 Houghton St. that was acquired with the assets of Housing Opportunities Inc. The single-family home has been empty since 2014. The mayor explained that any proceeds would return to the Community Development Block Grant account, which had provided the money through HOI for a first-time homebuyers program. He said he was unaware of any restrictions on the funds other than those put in place by the federal program.
Bernard said there are a few other properties that the city holds the rights to as assets transferred by HOI a couple years ago but they are not in default, like the Houghton Street property. HOI still has one more property — the former Sunshine Cleaners — and an account that are still in the process of being transferred, pending cleanup of the site.