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Officials cut the ribbon on the renovated 89 South St. that now has 18 apartments designed for senior living.
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A.J. Enchill of state Sen. Adam Hinds' office delivers a proclamation from the Senate.
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Berkshire Place Opens Senior Living Community on South Street

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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Berkshire Place President Richard Herrick says the building will provide 'high quality' living and supportive services.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — When the new Berkshire Place opened five years ago the fate of its historic first home on South Street was a question mark. 
 
On Tuesday that was answered with the opening of 89 South Senior Living Community after a yearlong, $5 million renovation of the 19th-century structure into 18 units designed for aging in place. The retirement community becomes part of the continuum of care with the long-term care facility and At Home with Berkshire Place home-care services. 
 
"It has been a long journey. And the journey really began with the relocation of the skilled facility, the nursing home, from this location to 290 South," said Richard Herrick, president of the board of directors at Tuesday's ribbon cutting. "And it's allowed us to have the opportunity to think about this building, and how it might best serve the community, serve the mission of Berkshire Place.
 
"And meet, frankly, the expectations of the senior consumer. And I guess I'm one of them."
 
Herrick said there may be a desire to stay in a home that people love and are "emotionally invested in." But that can become a liability as they get older because they may no longer be able to maintain their home or it no longer suits their needs.
 
"And while there are many apartments around, we thought it also very important that it would be not only apartments with the latest design and technology," he said. "But also supportive services to effectively make that residential stay the highest quality of life."
 
The ribbon cutting was followed by tours of the facility and a reception in the spacious common rooms on the first floor. 
 
There is one studio apartment and 17 one and two-bedroom units. Each unit is unique in layout and has a small kitchen, bathroom and washer/dryer units. The finishes are modern and the units come with hookups for television and cable, and have air conditioning.
 
Costs vary by suite and services such as meals, housekeeping, nursing. The first two residents will move in in August followed by more as applications are accepted.
 
"All have a unique character that provide comfort and supportive living that older adults can stay active independent in our downtown," said Executive Director Edward Forfa. "The services are also supported, as you heard, by Berkshire Place and At Home with Berkshire Place to provide a continuum of care for our residents should they need more extensive health-care needs in the future."
 
The building was constructed in 1888 by Zenas Crane — next to the Berkshire Museum that he also founded — as the Berkshire County Home for Aged Women. It became Berkshire Place in the 1960s.
 
The renovation was done by Allegrone Construction, which also built the new 40,000 square foot Berkshire Place at 290 South St., and financed through Adams Community Bank. The renovation maintained much of the historic character, such as the moldings and trim.
 
Forfa said the work done by Allegrone on the new Berkshire Place allowed the nonprofit time to consider what to do with the historic building and the decision was made to bring it back to its roots as an independent living situation with supportive services. The building fits into the "age-friendly" efforts being done in the county.
 
"It's fantastic. I think it's great for the city," Forfa said. "The location and the Cultural Arts District is important. It's right visibility-wise for the city and right for the people that are going to be residing here. Within a couple blocks, you can get to just about anything you need, whether it's the church and religious aspects of things, the cultural pieces with the museum and the Colonial [Theatre], the library, grocery store, the drugstore."
 
Mayor Linda Tyer said she wanted to congratulate and thank those "who had a part in saving this historic building, renovating it into what will be a safe haven for older citizens who need comfort, and a place to live."

Tags: age-friendly,   senior housing,   

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Berkshires Beat: Berkshire Equestrian Center to Host Horse Show Benefiting Berkshire Humane Society

Benefit horse show

After 25 years of hosting the Berkshire Humane Society Horse Show, Overmeade Farm has passed the reins to the Berkshire Equestrian Center in Richmond. Through the support of the Hart Family and Overmeade Farm, the horse show has raised more than $250,000 during the lifetime of the event. Berkshire Humane Society is excited to begin a new partnership with Berkshire Equestrian Center.

This event is recognized by the Western New England Professional Horseman's Association. Riders participate in hunter and equitation classes, both on the flat and over fences. The show offers riders of all ages and skills an opportunity to compete while helping raise critical funds that support the programs and services of Berkshire Humane Society. BHS has provided care to thousands of homeless animals over the past 27 years, and the horse show is one event that makes this lifesaving work possible.

Divisions to be held include: Short/Long Stirrup, Baby Green Hunter, Low/Adult Hunter, Novice Hunter, Pre-Children’s/Adult Equitation, Junior/Amateur Hunter, Children’s Equitation, Pony Hunter, Children’s Hunter Horse, Modified Junior Equitation, Junior Equitation, Adult Equitation, among others.

"We are so excited that the horse show has returned," said John Perreault, executive director for BHS. "This event is a great way for people of all ages to combine their love of horses and their compassion for all companion animals. We cannot thank Overmeade Farm and Berkshire Equestrian Center enough for their support. The Hart Family has made this event what it is today, and we’re thankful that Sarah Hogue at Berkshire Equestrian Center wants to continue this summer tradition that celebrates horses and helps homeless pets."

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