Pittsfield Historical Commission Has Questions About Proposed Cell Tower

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The commission also approved the demolition of a property on Curtis Street. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Historical Commission is leery of installing a wireless telecommunications tower on a historic Keeler Street mill.
The commissioners agreed Monday to draft a letter just to air their concerns about the proposed installation of a wireless telecommunications tower on the 20 Keeler St. campus.
"I think we as a commission should draft a letter indicating our concern about the historical integrity," Chairman John Dickson said.
Dickson said the mill is one of the 24 properties in their Endangered Property Case Book and is also surrounded by historic buildings — one that goes back to the 1800s.
City Planner CJ Hoss said as he understands it, a developer is working with the property owner to install the tower. He said the proposed tower would be just over 150 feet tall and that it is zoned industrial. 
Dickson, who lives in the same neighborhood, thought the tower would be visually jarring and could hinder future development.
"This is a concern having to look out my window and see an antenna that sticks 80 feet out above the tree line but from a historical standpoint this is an endangered property," he said. "There are things that could be done with it ... having an antenna on it will only make it more endangered ... it will be less likely to be reused." 
Hoss said the project still has to go before the Community Development Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals.
In other business, the commission approved the demolition of 37-39 Curtis St., which has fallen into disrepair and has been condemned. 
"This house is in pretty rough condition," Hoss said.
The property is currently owned by the bank that probably sees the dangerous building as a liability, he said.
The city did survey the neighborhood some years ago and even then the property had holes in the roof. Hoss said he was sure the condition has only worsened. 
Before closing, the commission appointed Dickson to the Community Preservation Committee. 

Tags: historical commission,   

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Innovation Center on Schedule For January Opening

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Innovation Center is still on schedule to open sometime in January.
The center's Executive Director Ben Sosne gave a brief update to the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority last week and said board should expect a grand opening in the first half of January.  
"I was just through the building and it looks fantastic," he said on Tuesday. "I am really excited to get this thing open and welcome everybody in."
He said in the next few months they will be moving in tenants and figuring out final specs.
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