Most of the work has been completed, it is just landscaping, signage, and fencing mostly left.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The multi-year North Street reconstruction is poised to be completed in November.
Work on the final phase of the streetscape project commenced in August 2015 and is on pace to conclude by the end of November. The section of the city's main thoroughfare has been under construction from Madison Avenue and Columbus Avenue for the last phase this summer. That is the final piece in a decade-long rehabilitation of North Street.
"Much of the streetscape work has been completed at this point and we are on schedule to finish on time. The project should be completed by the end of November," said Ryan Grennan, GIS coordinator with the city's Engineering Department.
"At this point, markings and fencing are almost complete. Trees and landscaping are currently being planted. Most street signs still need to be installed (this will most likely happen in November). Inspections and punch list items will also take place in November."
The final phase of the project is funded through a state MassWorks grant to the tune of $4.5 million. The engineering firm Fuss and O'Neill designed all four phases of the project focusing on traffic and pedestrian safety, improving traffic functions and sprucing up the overall appearance. The work includes bump outs at crosswalks, new lighting, flash beacons at unsignalized crosswalks, new sidewalks, bicycle lanes, and road resurfacing.
North Street has been seemingly under construction for years as the reconstruction project was divided into phases. The efforts were first cited in a 2005 master plan for the city. The work first began in 2009 with the renovation of Park Square, which included eliminating the rotary for $3.4 million and extended to Housatonic Street, for $1.8 million, in conjunction with the redevelopment of the Colonial Theater.
Another $6 million moved the project down for another mile or so on South Street from Housatonic with the intersection and signals being revamped for $1.5 million.
In 2012, the work expanded the other way, heading North on North Street. That expansion of the reconstruction cost $3.8 million and was done in conjunction with the redevelopment of the Beacon Cinema.
New planters were chosen to spruce up the sidewalks.
After that, Phase 3 jumped to the other end of North Street to the area around Berkshire Medical Center and ending at Madison Avenue. That cost was $2 million. Now the final phase links the two ends of the project. J.H. Maximillian had the contracts for all phases of the work.
Meanwhile, the city renovated Sottile and Persip parks, pocket parks on either side of Columbus Avenue as well as used a state grant to renovate the McKay Street parking garage.
The goal of the streetscape project was to attract private investment. On and surrounding North Street a number of those projects have taken place over the years as well.
Not only had the Beacon and Colonial Theater became anchors to the commercial area but Main Street Hospitality renovated the former Besse-Clark building on North Street into a boutique hotel. Allegrone Construction renovated the Howard Building at the intersection of First and Fenn Street into commercial and market-rate housing.
Allegrone is currently finishing renovating the Onota Building on North Street, with the temporary sidewalk being removed last week and windows now installed, with the same purpose. A few years ago, Scarafoni Associates renovated the former Notre Dame School into apartments.
Inevitably, the construction during each phase caused traffic disruption and access to downtown businesses — especially during the third phase in which a deeper road reconstruction was needed than in other sections. The city used display signs to tell shoppers that the stores were, in fact, open and helped direct customers to the entrances. But, with construction during the sections were widespread and eliminated parking and some access.
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Pittsfield City Council Accepts EMA Incentives
By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
BIC Executive Director Ben Sosne speaks to the City Council.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council unanimously approved two incentives welcoming Electro Magnetic Applications Inc. to the city.
After sending a special tax agreement and an Economic Development Fund allocation for EMA Inc. to subcommittee for consideration, the full City Council cast its vote Tuesday in favor of the incentives that will help the aerospace company take off in Pittsfield.
"We are investing our money into growing and we want part of that investment to be here," EMA President Tim McDonald said. "We think there is a real market need for this type of work and we would like to make the BIC and Pittsfield a major part of this new space economy."
After sending a special tax agreement and an Economic Development Fund allocation for Electro Magnetic Applications Inc. to subcommittee for consideration, the full city council cast its vote Tuesday in favor of the incentives that will help the aerospace company take off in Pittsfield.
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Seven candidates fielded questions at a forum hosted by BCC, in partnership with the Pittsfield Gazette and Pittsfield Community Television, which recorded the forum. The moderator was Shawn Serre, executive director of PCTV.
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Girard said they reached out to the city's engineering department, building commissioner, and the permitting coordinator and submitted some new plans. He said because the change was so minor the building inspector signed off on it and they blocked off the area and prepared for construction.
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The reported was shared by Superintendent Jason McCandless at last Wednesday's meeting. School Committee member William Cameron noted that some of the exiting employees were only hired at the beginning of the school year.
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