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Todd Fiorentino is looking to open the kiosk on Sept. 10.

Coffee Kiosk Set to Open at Pittsfield Common

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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The design has changed some since this early rendering, but the concept is to have a small, wooden dark brown or charcoal structure to serve coffee during the summer.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Todd Fiorentino is looking to open a coffee kiosk at the First Street Common in a few weeks.
The city has approved a lease agreement allowing Fiorentino to set up the 6-foot by 8-foot wooden kiosk on the sidewalk in front of the park to sell coffee.
Poseidon Coffee is expected to be open on Sept. 10.
"The proximity to a major parking lot in Pittsfield, plus being right next to a park that has a huge draw with a splash pad and various summer events should prove to be a winning combination," Fiorentino said.
"Coffee culture is burgeoning; it's a social drink and makes The Common more of a destination. You can read a book, take a walk, play chess and enjoy a latte all the while."
The kiosk will be open from 8:45 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. during the week and every other weekend from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. He plans to offer an array of drinks from coffee to iced-cappuccino to hot chocolate in the fall. 
Fiorentino has an agreement to sell Shelburne Falls Coffee Roasters coffee and espresso and Rick Gillespie of Creekside Woodworking is currently constructing the kiosk. 
The stand will be removed from the park on Dec. 1 but will return in March, provided the city and Fiorentino feel it is still working out.
"It is closed for three months, it is pulled out, and on March 1 it goes back in," he said.
The venture is new for city parks and was presented to the Parks Commission in January. But the Parks Commission wanted to develop a policy for how to handle commercial ventures in the public parks.
In March such a policy was developed and the city went through the public bidding process for the operation of a kiosk.
Fiorentino submitted his proposal but because of some clerical errors in the bid, the Purchasing Department couldn't accept it, according to Parks and Open Spaces Manager James McGrath. The city went to bid again and Fiorentino again was the only application.
McGrath said a group of three reviewed the application and made a recommendation to award the contract to Fiorentino. Now, eight months later, everything is in place for the kiosk to open.
On Tuesday, the Parks Commission gave another approval of the kiosk's location, although Commissioner Cliff Nilan felt the board should have had a say in the crafting of the lease.
"The contract should have come before the commission for us to look at and approve because it is parkland," he said.
Nonetheless, the agreement includes leasing the space and an estimated cost for the electricity. McGrath said there are nearby electrical hookups he can use. 
Being new to the city's park system, McGrath said the lease has multiple clauses giving the city an out if it doesn't work out. He said in both parties have to agree to bring it back next year.
"This is kind of an experiment to see how these things work," McGrath said, but added, "this is an example of a small, start-up business in our downtown. I think it is worth propping up."
Fiorentino said the first week he is open he'll be giving 12-ounce coffees for free to all police, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians and coffee for the public will be $1. 

Tags: coffeeshop,   parks commission,   Pittsfield Common,   public parks,   

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Environment Secretary Visits Pittsfield

Kathleen Theoharides, secretary of energy and environmental affairs, visits the site of culvert project in Pittsfield being funded through the state's climate readiness program.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides was in Pittsfield on Friday to review a state-funded culvert site and meet with local officials to discuss the state's climate readiness program. 
She joined Mayor Linda Tyer at the Churchill Street culvert, a site which recently received grant funding through the state's Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program. The city was awarded an $814,524 state grant in June for the Churchill Brook and West Street Culvert Replacement Project.
Through the MVP program, which begun in 2017, municipalities identify key climate-related hazards, vulnerabilities and strengths, develop adaptation actions, and prioritize next steps. The initiative which initially started as a $500,000 capital grant program has now increased to $12 million. Pittsfield is among the 71 percent of communities across the commonwealth now enrolled in the MVP program.
"The governor and the lieutenant governor have made resilient infrastructure a priority all across the state and I think it's really important to know that we have a really vested interest in Western Massachusetts communities as well as all across the state, not forgetting the Berkshires or Pioneer Valley," said Theoharides in a statement. "Our MVP program is really focused on these types of partnership investments and looking to design infrastructure for the challenges we're seeing today and moving forward as climate change increases."
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