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A rendering of the memorial as shown on PCTV.

Pittsfield Parks Commission Approve New Veterans Memorial

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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Arnie Perras of VFW Post 448 explains the how the memorial concept came about. The entire meeting can be watched here.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Parks Commission has signed off on an Iraq/Afghanistan Memorial monument to be installed in Veterans Way Park.
 
Commander of the VFW Post 448 and Chairman of the Iraq/Afghanistan Memorial Committee Arnie Perras brought a $10,000 check to the commission's Tuesday meeting to help jump start the memorial fundraising.
 
"It has been a long time coming," Perras said, adding that planning for this monument goes back more than five years.
 
The piece will be installed near the World War I Peace Memorial, just off the paved way at the top of the stairs on the South Street side of the park.
 
"Cars traveling south would get a pretty good look at it," Perras said. "We wanted it to be close where people could access it not way out in the middle of a lawn somewhere."
 
Perras showed a rendering of the monument that will roughly be 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide and created by a company in Woburn. It will be made out of black granite and the front will be laser etched with both Iraq and Afghanistan and the names of the five Berkshire County residents who were killed in action during the conflict.
 
"It will be dedicated to all killed in action that are from Berkshire County," he said. "There will be five names on it leaving space for other names because the war is still on."
 
On the back there will be two soldiers etched. It will read "No One Left Behind."
 
Perras said they hope to unveil the monument on Sept. 11.
 
"That is the day that kind of started all of these wars so we thought it would be appropriate to dedicate this monument at this time," he said.
 
He said the monument itself will cost $33,400 -- a bit more than the original goal of $30,000. With installation, the total cost of the project will likely be closer to $45,000.
 
The VFW voted to kick in $10,000 and there will be a fundraising campaign for the balance. Perras said the hope to have a 10-by-15-foot area around the monument to also install pavers, allowing for more donation opportunities.
 
Perras said they also plan to bury a time capsule under the monument.
 
Parks and Open Spaces Manager James McGrath said all donations will go through the VFW, which will largely oversee the project but that will also work with the city to make sure the monument is installed to specifications. Ultimately, the City Council will have to accept the monument as a gift.
 
"There is a fair amount of work to do between now and then and as long as it stays on a positive path I don't see why we can't meet that deadline," McGrath said.
 
In other business, the commission voted to continue working with the Pittsfield Suns contingent upon the execution of a new agreement that would allow the team to continue to lease Wahconah Park.
 
"I think in good faith this commission would want to continue to work with the Suns and come to an agreement," McGrath said.  
 
The Sun's lease agreement is currently expired and the city has yet to draw up a new draft agreement. McGrath said the city will probably produce a draft agreement for the next meeting but asked for a vote from the commissioners stating that they were still interested in working with the Suns. 
 
The commission also voted to invite Todd Fiorentino, owner of the Poseidon Coffee kiosk near the Common, to discuss a new lease agreement.
 
"Is it a starter or a non-starter?" McGrath asked. "Do you think it was good for the park? He deserves to be here if you want him to come back."
 
He first took the temperature of the commissioners and asked if they were interested in continuing the agreement at all. He said the city does have some concerns about hours of operation and their consistency.
 
McGrath said this could be enforced in new terms in the agreement. 
 
• He also said a design meeting for the proposed skate park will be Feb. 6 at the Senior Center at 6 p.m.
 
"The designers will be there and we encourage kids that have an interest in biking or skating to come on out and help us design," he said.
 
The hope is to have a design and cost estimate by May.
 
• The commission elected Anthony DeMartino as the new chairman.

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Brewery Planned For Downtown Pittsfield

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council will consider a tax financing agreement with 41 North Tap Room, which has eyed North Street to develop a brewery, tap room and kitchen.
 
The council on Tuesday referred an allocation of funds from the Economic Development Fund and a tax increment financing agreement to benefit the development of a brewery and tap room at 41 North St. 
 
"Prior restaurants that have occupied the space proposed for the brewery and tap room have struggled, in part due to the size and layout of the space," Director of Community Development Deanna Ruffer wrote in a letter to City Council. "The proposed development of a brewery in this space is able to take advantage of ... the layout and size of the space, thus, increasing the likelihood of long-term success for a business in this critical location in the center of downtown." 
 
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