PITTSFIELD, Mass. – The Community Preservation Committee has been generous with its disbursement of funds from the Community Preservation Act of 2022, recommending that 10 requests be fully granted and the 11th partially funded.
The list of recommendations totals approximately $670,000 and will be submitted to city council for final approval next month.
“I know we’ve said we didn’t have a lot of money in the past, we didn’t have that much money, we had to make these decisions, but I think it’s been good resource management. “, said John Dickson, representative of the Historical Commission. .
“The state gave us extra money so we could provide more, we didn’t have any tough decisions about what to leave out.”
The committee’s highest-rated project came from Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity, which requested $150,000 to build energy-efficient, affordable homes on vacant land at 84 Robbins Ave.
The next highest rated requests were the Morningside Community School Inclusion Project Planning for $24,000 and another Habitat for Humanity build at 266 Onota St. for $140,000.
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church received a $125,000 recommendation on its original $150,000 request to preserve the stained glass windows. PCA funding was reduced because the scope of the overall project cost was reduced.
The church wishes to install protective glazing on 14 of its stained glass windows: a balcony window, 11 nave windows and two chapel windows.
She intends to install frames that best imitate the lines of the stained glass window. Some repairs to deteriorating window frames are also required.
This was the largest request and there were previously questions about the eligibility of this project due to an anti-state aid amendment that prohibits the use of public funds to private entities to private purposes.
Planner CJ Hoss consulted with City Solicitor Stephen Pagnotta on the matter.
Due to the historic nature of the building, members have said they consider this project eligible for funding. The various community organizations that use the church were also highlighted.
“I view this project as a landmark construction project and therefore do not believe it violates the CPA’s anti-aid amendment,” said Libby Herland, a representative for the Community Development Council.
“They could put normal windows in there and they could just fix them and they could still do whatever they’re doing, but the building is a historic building. They already know the [U.S.] The Home Secretary’s standards and will adhere to them for preservation and they do so much for the community it’s community building so I really feel comfortable funding this project. “
The church currently has three tenants: the Cathedral of the Beloved, the Berkshire Immigration Center and the Jewish Family Service, which support Afghan refugees. It also has a full kitchen that serves 150 meals a week and also lends its space for community groups and performances.
The committee considered not fully funding two other proposals, but ultimately agreed to the full amount.
There have also been discussions about the eligibility of the Francis Avenue Viewing Park proposed by Habitat for Humanity. The $34,000 was requested to cover design and engineering costs for the creation of a small park at the top of Francis Avenue and improvements to the nearby stairwell that leads to the Big Y area.
The committee initially offered to fund half of the requested amount because there were concerns about the extent to which the project was actually related to recreation. The conversation then turned to how it would improve an existing drainage problem in the area and the benefits it would have for the surrounding community.
A request for $15,000 for the relocation and restoration of the “Lest We Forget” Vietnam Veterans Memorial in the city of Pittsfield also sparked conversation among panel members. One concern was that the project was not actually a restoration as it was revealed that the mural would be recreated using as much restoration as possible.
The other concern that arose was that the city had yet to secure the mural’s new location at 50 Pearl St. near the James E. Callahan Chapter 65 Vietnam Veterans building.
The mural was deemed historically significant by the Historical Commission, which led to support from committee members.
The committee set a condition that funding was approved for that location and if the location changed, the applicant would have to appear before the commission again.
The committee also approved a base allocation for fiscal year 2023 of approximately $623,000.
CPA 2022 funding recommendations:
• Digitization of Berkshire Athenaeum/Tax & Vital Records, $95,217
• Restoration of the facade of the Berkshire Theater Group/Garage, $57,275
• City of Pittsfield Cultural Development/Lest We Forget Mural, $15,000
• City of Pittsfield DCD/Clapp Park Little League Buildings, $9,000
• City of Pittsfield DCD/Kirvin Park Disc Golf, $7,500
• City of Pittsfield DCD/West Park Cemetery Restoration, $13,325
• Habitat for Humanity/Francis Avenue Observation Park, $34,000
• Habitat for Humanity/266 Onota Street, $140,000
• Habitat for Humanity/84 Robbins Avenue, $150,000
• Morningside School/Playground Planning, $24,000
• Restoration of the Saint-Étienne church and stained glass window, $125,000