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Engineer Brent White and Executive Director Carolyn Valli presented the plans to the Community Development Board on Tuesday.

Central Berkshire Habitat Condo Project Receives Permits

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity's Gordon Deming project is a go. 
The non-profit received the local permits needed on Tuesday for the six-unit, three-building condominium project. The project has been in the works for a decade since Berkshire Gas first donated the property on Deming Street and Executive Director Carolyn Valli believes it will be out to bid in March. 
The $1.1 million project was anticipated to break ground this fall and had been heralded by city and state officials when Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito awarded a $425,000 grant toward it last November but lining up permitting has proven to be a challenge.
Particularly because the property is in the floodplain, Habitat had to purchase land on West Housatonic Street that currently has somewhat of a concrete parking lot and turn that back into wetlands in order to comply with the Conservation Commission's request. That hadn't been done by last month and the Community Development Board wouldn't allow the project to move forward without the ConCom's approval.
Now all of that has been taken care of and the plans are set to move forward. 
The first step of the project is to use that $425,000 from the state to build the roadway and water infrastructure. The development needs a road with two egress points to comply with the Fire Department's standards and new water lines to service the development. Then the three buildings will be constructed. Valli said not all of the units have families yet identified to take over ownership.
Habitat is working with an attorney on the creation of a homeowner's association. That will build in fees for the property owners to pay for ongoing maintenance, such as landscaping and repairs to the access road.
The landscaping was a particular problem for the Community Development Board, which wanted to ensure that property beyond the individual units is well kept. Valli said Habitat currently has an agreement with a landscaping company for the property and likely that company will stay on even after the units are built.
The Community Development Board also had some questions about the gravel access road and engineer Brent White said some modifications were made to further prevent the road from washing out and it will be re-inspected on a quarterly basis to start.
In other business, the board gave its OK for Herbal Pathways to open a recreational marijuana facility at 1315 East St.
The board previously voiced concern about the number of businesses operating at the property. Currently, it is shared by a landscaping company, a dog grooming company, and there are rental storage units on site. The addition of another business raised concerns about zoning regulations and traffic.
"The dog grooming business and the structure will be removed. That addressed the zoning matter," White said.
If approved by the state, the store would be open from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and on Sundays from noon until 6. There are no significant changes to the appearance of the building.

Tags: community development,   habitat for humanity,   

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Berkshire Theatre Group to Present 'Godspell' Outdoors

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Berkshire Theatre Group will produce "Godspell" this summer – the first musical in the United States to be approved by Actors' Equity Association in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The show will be presented outdoors in an open-air tent adjacent to The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, and is scheduled to run Aug. 6 through Sept. 4. Tickets will be available for purchase Tuesday, July 7, at noon. 

"We could not bear the thought of a Berkshire summer without live theater to support our community, so we jumped through every hoop to create a safe way to make this happen," said BTG Board of Trustees Co-President Lee Perlman. "I hope our production gives hope to the tens of thousands of theater professionals who are on the sidelines this summer. Theater is unstoppable and will be back”

Artistic director and CEO Kate Maguire said "Godspell" got the green light after BTG established a strict protocol to protect the health and safety of the audience, the performers and others involved in the show. 

"We have been working daily and in the true spirit of care and collaboration with Actors’ Equity Association for the past several weeks," she said. "Guided by Executive Director of Actors’ Equity Association Mary McColl and her extraordinary team, I have learned much about how to lead a theater in the new world. Our industry, which has been devastated by this global pandemic, will be served by their seriousness, data driven wisdom, and profound understanding of the need for artists to rebuild. 

"I am so proud that Berkshire Theatre Group, in its 92nd season will be authorized and granted the responsibility to produce the musical 'Godspell.'”

After careful consideration with the local and state government, Mayor Linda Tyer of Pittsfield and Actors’ Equity Association, BTG relocated "Godspell" from its original site at The Fitzpatrick Main Stage in Stockbridge to outside under a tent at The Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield.

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