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Pittsfield Business Development Manager Michael Coakley has been named interim director of PEDA. Coakley is seen here at the announcement of the website launched in February.

PEDA Says Goodbye to Executive Director Thurston

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — PEDA officially accepted the resignation of longtime director Corydon "Cory" Thurston this week.
The Pittsfield Economic Development Authority met Wednesday morning, remotely, accepted the executive director's resignation, and appointed Pittsfield's Business Development Manager Michael Coakley as the interim manager.
"Thank you Cory for your service and a lot of accomplishments," Chairman Mick Callahan said. "...Your service is appreciated ... and I can promise that we are going to do a good job for you over there." 
Thurston, who has led PEDA for nine years, announced his retirement in March — after first attempting to leave three years ago.
"I want to thank everyone on the board for their hard work and their dedication and I will be watching and expecting the good news to continue," Thurston said. "We are proud of all of the things that we have accomplished."
The board took a second vote to appoint Coakley and Thurston said he has been working with him to create a smoother transition.
Callahan thanked Thurston and Coakley for this work.
"I am very pleased that we had such a  wonderful transition and both of these gentlemen worked very well together to make sure that we were seamless in our work," he said.
He added that PEDA will slightly change their focus with Coakley to sales, marketing, and leasing the Willaim Stanley Business Park. 
Thurston gave his final report and was happy to say although the Berkshire Innovation Center is mostly closed because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, it is still assisting companies to develop prototypes and retool their operations to aid in the construction of personal protective equipment for front-line workers.
"The good news is the BIC has opened for business. The sad news: it is closed for the most part," he said. "But there is no question in my mind of the success of the innovation center and its ability to get back on its feet after the distancing is relaxed."
Also, he said Berkshire Kind is plugging away at its marijuana grow facility at the park.
He said the company now has a host agreement with the city and is in line with the Cannabis Control Commission. He said PEDA will see design plans once the COVID-19 restrictions settle.
In other business, PEDA heard from auditor Dave Irwin who said finances for year 2019 are in good order.
He did note that the GE Settlement Account sits at around $2.7 million. Pulling out specified expenditures, this leaves PEDA with nearly $1.3 million.
At PEDA's current trajectory, this will be run down in four or five years.
"So kind of moving forward, land sales and finding other revenues is probably more important because we are getting down close to the end," Irwin said.
Coakley said, a website to promote the city for commercial development, is up and running and an additional COVID-19 section has been added to provide businesses with resources.

Tags: PEDA,   retirement,   

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Pittsfield ZBA Takes No Action On Cell Tower Petition

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff

The 115-foot tower is sited near a city water tank.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Zoning Board of Appeals took no action on a City Council petition to re-permit the 877 South St. cellular tower.
The ZBA voted Wednesday to adhere to City Solicitor Stephen Pagnotta's opinion that legally the board cannot re-open the special permit.
"After a decision has been finalized, to review the hearing or rescind the hearing is not allowable under the statute," Pagnotta said. "The purpose of that is to ensure that permits, and any rights that come under those permits, are final and the applicants can rely on them."
The petition was in response to the essentially complete cell tower that abutters say was put up illegally without proper notice.
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