Pittsfield Awarded $2.85M for Affordable Housing

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PITTSFIELD - The state has pledged nearly $2.85 million in funding toward two projects offering affordable housing in Pittsfield.

The combination of private and public funds awarded by the state Department of Housing and Community Development was announced this week by Sen. Benjamin B. Downing, D-Pittsfield, and Rep. Christopher N. Speranzo, D-Pittsfield.

In total, the state agency announced its intention to provide more than $100 million in assistance to support two dozen developments that will yield 908 new rental apartments in 21 communities across the state. Some 771 of those apartments will offer long-term affordable rents for low- and moderate-income families.     

The New Amsterdam Project on Bradford Street in Pittsfield will receive $1 million in Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, a $525,000 in Federal HOME Funds and $750,000 Housing Stabilization Fund for a total of $2.75 million toward low-income housing.

The developer, New Amsterdam Project LP, plans to build a 67-unit housing complex on Bradford Street that will also feature retail and gallery space. The project offers solutions to the housing gap often noted in Berkshire County by providing a attractive option to families, young professionals, artists and others. City leaders hope New Amsterdam will encourage people to take a second look at Pittsfield's downtown as they consider their housing options.

"This project is another leap forward in Pittsfield's revitalization. Once it is constructed and when families and young professionals start to move in, New Amsterdam will serve as a residential gateway to the city's downtown," said Downing.

The project has long enjoyed the support of Pittsfield's leaders, on both the state and local level. Downing and Mayor James M. Ruberto arranged a meeting with DHCD and the project proponents in July to discuss its merits and importance to the city.

"This project provides needed workforce housing and creates an additional link between our revitalized downtown and the Westside neighborhood," said Ruberto.

Beth A. Pearson, principal of New Amsterdam Partnership LP, expressed her gratitude for the help and support she received while working to advance her vision. 

"I have to express my huge thanks to my wonderful development team as well as to the guidance and support provided by Senator Downing, Representative Speranzo and Mayor Ruberto," said Pearson. "I look forward to breaking ground to provide this crucial housing in the Berkshires." 

The balance of the state and federal funding, $569,999 will be awarded to Berkshire County ARC's Traumatic Brain Injury Residence. The money comes from the Housing Stabilization Fund.

Berkshire County ARC is constructing a single-family, ranch-style home for six people suffering from a traumatic brain injury. This funding completes budget requirements to build the home, which will be designed by native son and Taconic High School graduate Barry Buchinski of Blackstone Block Architects. 

Buchinski designed another Berkshire County ARC residential facility on First Street.

"Berkshire County ARC has a strong track record for providing important services to the community and it is wonderful to see them receive the necessary funds to get this project off the ground," said Speranzo.

Berkshire County ARC Executive Director Kenneth Singer said, "We are thrilled to move forward with this housing project and to serve these people with specialized staff and around-the-clock care. We appreciate all the support we received from Senator Downing, Representative Speranzo and all our elected officials."

"We are pleased the commonwealth is providing critical financial support to two organizations that have proven track records for developing high-quality housing in the city of Pittsfield," said Ruberto.
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Pittsfield Parks Commission Sees Possible Future Projects

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff

Jim McGrath updates the Parks Commission on future projects. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city may target the Burbank Park floating dock and Allen Heights Park for potential Community Preservation fund projects.
 
Parks and Open Spaces Manager James McGrath gave the Parks Commission a quick preview of some possible fiscal 2020 Community Preservation Act projects and noted the floating dock at Burbank Park is at the top of his list.
 
"The dock that is currently there is an old dock and it is not the best, stable, or sturdy," he told the commission on Tuesday. "It does not really serve the rowers' purpose."
 
McGrath said the dock is for rowers but inevitably residents have used it recreationally. 
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