The library trustees are leery of using Cariddi's bequest in one fell swoop.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The library trustees are hesitant to use money left by state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi to address major maintenance needs.
Chairwoman Robin Martin told the trustees Wednesday that she recently met with Mayor Thomas Bernard who asked that the trustees consider using the money left by the late Cariddi to go toward some of the maintenance concerns in the original part of the library.
"It's up to us but I am not sure that it is a good idea," Martin said.
The state representative and former city councilor passed away in 2017 and left a considerable amount of money to the city. Cariddi left the library $175,000 from her estate plus a $7,500 gift to go toward establishing an astronomy program.
Martin said the mayor thought the funds could go toward plans or design work. Complete design work would better position the library for grant funding that could address the many maintenance issues in the 150-year-old Sanford Blackinton mansion.
Trustee Tara Jacobs said there are no real stipulations attached to the bulk of the money left in the estate. She said their only guidance is that it goes toward maintenance, operational, and programming needs in the library.
The trustees agreed that it would be OK for some of the money to go toward this work but did not think emptying the fund was appropriate.
"I can see using a bit of it but I can't see using it all," Jacobs said. "I don't think that was the spirit of it ... it makes the money become invisible in terms of legacy."
Trustee Sara Farnsworth said said she would not be comfortable tapping more than a third of the fund and felt the money should not be used to address maintenance issues the city has deferred.
Jacobs said she was also not comfortable committing money without a solid cost of these projects. She was wary that the design work itself could blow through the money.
"These are very expensive needs and I don't see any of them being something this money could fix," she said. "Until we have a very clear plan mapped out of our capital needs strategy ... I am uncomfortable assigning funds."
The trustees agreed to inform the mayor that they would rather disperse the funds throughout the library instead of focusing them on one project. Also, they wanted to relay to the mayor that they were uncomfortable committing money without clear numbers.
In Library Director Sarah Sanfilippo's report, she said things have been slow over the final months of summer but did note that workers have been in the building installing new LED lighting throughout.
"It is already an amazing difference when you walk through places where they have installed the lights you can actually read what's on a book's spine," she said.
The lighting was funded through a Green Communities Grant the city secured.
Sanfilippo said funding was a bit short so not every light will be replaced. However, outdoor lighting will be replaced.
She added the Friends of the Library will hold its book sale this weekend. The sale runs Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Parish Center. There will also be a bake sale and silent auction.
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Berkshires Beat: Food Pantry Returning to Eagle Street Starting Aug. 12
Starting Wednesday, Aug. 12, the Al Nelson Friendship Center Food Pantry will return to operating out of its home at 45 Eagle St. in North Adams. At that time, the hours will change to 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for those coming directly to the Friendship Center. Intake and food distribution will take place at the front door. Those who cannot physically come to the food pantry or who feel ill, may call 413-664-0123 on Wednesday during hours of operation to set up a delivery. Deliveries will take place between 10 a.m. and noon on Thursday, Aug. 13.
The Food Pantry will operate from the Holden Street side of the St. Elizabeth Parish Center one final Wednesday, Aug. 5, during two sessions, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
The food pantry operation moved to the St. Elizabeth Parish Center at the end of March. This move allowed for food distribution with greater social distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Back at 45 Eagle St., safety will remain very important, and staff asks members to continue to help all of us stay safe by maintaining social distance and utilizing face coverings. For more information and for future updates see the Facebook page or the website.
Basketball courts reopen
Basketball courts in the city of Pittsfield have now reopened for limited use in adherence to COVID-19 safety guidelines. Signage with these directives will be posted at parks throughout the city.
In April, city basketball courts were among a list of public spaces that were temporarily closed, as part of the city’s mitigation efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19. Per the guidelines, the reopening of the courts will allow for practice and drills only. No pick-up games or scrimmages are allowed until further notice. Visitors are reminded to exercise social distancing and limit group size to 25 players or less.
Additionally, facial coverings must be worn when intermittent contact might occur and when participants are not actively engaged in an activity.
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