When city officials began the process of resealing and adding a top coat to the Columbus Avenue parking garage, they found the structure was much worse than expected. The resealing has been delayed.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council isn't authorizing any funds to fix the Columbus Avenue garage until councilors know if it is salvageable.
The city closed off the upper floor of the garage after finding the support beams compromised. In 2013, the city eyed spending $160,000 to reseal the upper floor to extend the life of the parking garage a little longer.
But, "when we did the assessment of the garage, there were more problems than just the coating," according to Director of Building Maintenance Peter Sondrini.
The study showed that the beams were rotating and tearing away from the supports. To avoid any more damage, the city closed off the upper level — eliminating 156 spaces. Meanwhile, the state has a $6 million borrowing authority to fix the garage and officials are hoping for that to be released.
Sondrini on Tuesday asked the council for that initial $160,000 to do a structural engineering assessment to find out exactly what needs to be repaired and how much it will cost. That assessment is estimated to cost about $10,000 and the rest would be put toward the repairs, Sondrini said.
"Right now we are holding out on the coating and repurposing that money," Sondrini said.
However, Sondrini says more information is expected from the condition report that discovered the issues, which will help in moving forward with the engineering.
"The repairs, I believe, would exceed this number. We'll exceed that $160,000. I don't know what the design will be but I know the structural analysis will be $10,000," Sondrini said.
The City Council tabled the request — opting not to send it to the committee level in hopes to expedite the process as more information comes in.
"Let's find out if it is salvageable first before we authorize 160 grand," Councilor at Large Barry Clairmont said.
Ward 6 Councilor John Krol said he wants to have a much better understanding of how that money is going to be repurposed.
"We allocated $160,000 for a specific purpose and we don't know how much will be converted for this use," Krol said.
In other business, the City Council continued a public hearing regarding a proposed Big Y express. The company is hoping to build a 1,500 square-foot building and 12 gas pumps on a parcel behind the existing supermarket. Despite having a representative from a neighboring parcel speaking in favor of the project, the council still wanted to hear more from the Community Development Board.
That board granted the site plan approval, a type of authorization that allows for less discretion among board members. But, because the project is in the newly created arts overlay district, the proponents will need a special permit, an authorization allowing the board to add conditions.
The City Council will now wait for a ruling from the Community Development Board on that.
Further, another hitch was presented with Big Y officials being seemingly unaware of new tobacco regulations that limits the number of permits issued. If the company is unable to obtain a license, the project could be threatened.
Also on Tuesday, Clairmont — utilizing the open microphone period of the agenda — said he has agreed to delaying his request of the mayor to make a presentation to the council on an executive decision to move inspection services to 100 North St.
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Boys & Girls Club Announces Pebble Beach Golf Raffle
PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- The Boys and Girls Club of the Berkshires has announced that raffle tickets for a trip to the world renown Pebble Beach Golf Resorts located on the Monterrey Peninsula of California are now available.
The winner will stay in the world class luxury accomodations at The Lodge at Pebble Beach which features an ocean side setting overlooking the famed 18th hole of The Pebble Bach Golf Links. The prize package includes one round for two of golf at the Pebble Beach Golf Links, and one round for two at Spyglass Hill Golf Course.
The Pebble Beach Course is recognized as one of the most beautiful courses in the world as it hugs the coastline and opens up to the Pacific Ocean and was the host of this year’s U.S. Open Championship.
The Spyglass Hill course is one of the most respected and revered courses in the world with views of the ocean and the natural beauty of the DeMonte Forest. The prize package includes up to $1,000 for airfare.
The program is intended to provide coaching and mentorship to help young people take the first step in their careers. It has been ongoing in Pittsfield for 15 years, and for the last six Guardian Life Insurance has contributed.
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The cracked and worn steps to City Hall stood between two mayoral candidates Tuesday night.
Councilor At Large and mayoral candidate Melissa Mazzeo and Mayor Linda Tyer sparred during the City Council meeting over the lack of repairs to those steps. In 2015, a storm led to significant flooding... click for more
At one point, Ashton Applewhite's biggest fear was that she'd end up "drooling in an institution" when she got old.
She was worried about memory loss. She didn't want to live a depressed life. Getting old was not something she wanted to even think about. But something changed when she embarked... click for more
Berkshire Community College is hosting the Pittsfield's Ward 5 and Ward 6 debates on Monday, Aug. 19, at 6 p.m. in the Koussevitzky Arts Center, Room K-111, at its main campus, 1350 West St.
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For the third time in four months, the City Council said it wants to have a full conversation about downtown parking.
But it still hasn't determined how to do that - whether that means hiring a consultant or doing it internally. On Tuesday, the council agreed to have the city solicitor craft an... click for more