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New England News
Mon December 10, 2012
State Funding Helps Launch Second Phase of Pittsfield Common Project
The largest city in the Berkshires has received state funding to continue its restoration of a downtown greenspace. The grant is part of a multi-million effort to improve parks in cities across the Massachusetts. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…
The First Street Common located in downtown Pittsfield has historically been a hub for the people of the city, but in recent years had become neglected and ill-maintained. Jim McGrath is Pittsfield’s park, open space and natural resources program manager…
Phase 1 of the Common’s face lift was completed last May, after $1.7 million dollars including contributions from the state’s Gateway Cities program went to improvements including building a new entranceway on adjacent First Street. Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rick Sullivan attended a ribbon-cutting event for the park last Spring and spoke about the importance of redeveloping green spaces in post-industrial city centers like Pittsfield.
Last week, Secretary Sullivan announced $2.2 million grants through the Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities Program for Western Massachusetts. Agawam, Holyoke, Northampton, South Hadley, Springfield, and Ware received awards up to $400,000 to upgrade and maintain city green spaces. Pittsfield will use its share of $400,000 to help complete Phase 2 of the First Street Common project.
In addition, solar compacting trash bins will be placed in the park, and a new rain garden may be installed. A gazebo and restrooms are also planned for the Common.
McGrath says that the totaled $4.6 million dollar project of improving the Common is one more step in the city’s revitalization efforts, which included a multi-million dollar downtown streetscape renovation.
The EEA is awarding a total of $8 million through the PARC program to 25 cities across the Commonwealth with preference given to park projects located close to urban centers and public transportation or serving environmental justice populations.
New England News