Once an industry leader in the production of paper, textile and leather goods, over the last century, the town of North Adams became one of the most economically devastated towns in Western Massachusetts, with abandoned mill buildings and empty factories scarring its landscape. The opening of MASS MoCA in 1999 provided economic and employment opportunities for a community in need, and paved the way for further revitalization through the arts. The museum’s success—with over 125,000 visitors per year—has had dramatic impacts for the town. But much still needs to be done to link the revitalized area around the museum with the rest of the downtown.
Enter Heritage Park: an ambitious project that will revive, repurpose and renovate a struggling area known as the Western Gateway Heritage State Park. By connecting the park to the base of the entrance road to the magnificent Mount Greylock, while also providing a pedestrian passage to the back of MASS MoCA, locals and tourists alike will have a scenic and inspiring way to access the park, the museum and the recreational activities afforded by Mount Greylock.
Using public art, improved signage, greenscaping, and aggressive marketing of new tenants, the city of North Adams, MASS MoCA and other creative partners will successfully transform an urban eyesore into a bustling marketplace and a revitalized hub for the community.