PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Lightscapes is kicking off a fundraising campaign on Monday to match a state grant to bring a lighting installation to the city's downtown.
The nonprofit committee organized by the Downtown Pittsfield Cultural Association was approved last month for a $50,000 Commonwealth Places/MassDevelopment matching grant. It hopes to raise the $50,000 in matching funds by May 18.
The goal is to create a modern LED lighting scheme for Park Square, City Hall and Dunham Mall. The cost is estimated at $100,000 and installation would occurr by August.
The Steering Committee is made up of local residents, artists and folks just passionate about the future of Pittsfield and the revitalization of the downtown. According to a press release from the committee, its earliest meetings involved discussions about the "energy-giving" power of light and how state-of-the-art light emitting diodes lighting could aid in the ongoing transformation of the city.
In December, the group with the help of Philips Lighting and consultants Apex Lighting Solutions demonstrated the possibilities by lighting up elements of North Street, including the historic bank building at 100 North.
The BL Steering Committee has developed a plan to create permanent, artistic areas of light
(lightscapes) on downtown buildings, in public spaces and connecting alleyways at a scale and cost appropriate to our city. In doing this, the committee says it will Illuminate the beautiful structures and public spaces to create a safe, colorful and vibrant downtown.
When events and performances are scheduled in lightscape spaces, the city will cordon off these areas to traffic. Examples of lightscape events include dances, musical performances, yoga, craft shows, public school events, food tastings, etc. Anticipated lightscape hours are dusk to 10.
The committee has worked closely with the mayor's office and Pittsfield's Community Development Department on all phases of this project. A member of the Community Development Department is on the Steering Committee, which will continue to collaborate with the city on lighting equipment selection and installation.
Dunham Mall is a pedestrian thoroughfare connecting North Street's commercial district with City Hall. In the daytime, many people use Dunham Mall as a pedestrian connecting corridor. It's rarely used at night, but enhanced lighting would provide a "corridor of artistic light" to illuminate the event/entertainment venue in front of City Hall.
City Hall does have muted white light on its front façade. BL would enhance the current lighting by adding tasteful lighting (the lightscape) to the front of the building and the front railings. This will bring out the architectural beauty of this historical structure and provide safety with the lit stair rails. Entertainment and events would be located in front of City Hall, and onto contiguous areas.
Estimated Cost: $34,000 for lighting on Dunham Mall and City Hall
Park Square is a small "park" right in the center of the downtown. It is framed by some of the most historically significant buildings in Pittsfield. BL believes it's an excellent location for artistic lighting, both within the square, but also future uplighting and highlighting of some of the significant surrounding architecture.
The preliminary plan proposes two memorial style spotlights to highlight the historic Civil War monument facing North Street; and 21 uplights on the existing Acorn Lights. The Park Square lighting plan and costs were developed by Craig Okerstrom-Lang, landscape architects in Great Barrington.
Estimated Cost: $61,000 for lighting on Park Square
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