Great Barrington To Host American Rescue Plan Act Funds Meeting

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GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — The Select board will hold a public meeting Nov. 1 at 6 p.m. to receive residents' input on how to best deploy more than $2 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
 
The meeting will be held via Zoom and will be posted on the town calendar for Nov. 1.
 
Half of this funding has already been received by the town, but it is not yet allocated. The remainder comes in 2022.
 
Use of these ARPA funds ($2,075,908 for Great Barrington) is not expected to be subject to a town meeting vote. But town leaders seek public feedback on best uses for the funds.
 
Expenditures must fall into one of five categories:
  • Public health
  • Economic impact of the Covid-19 emergency
  • Loss of public sector revenue
  • Premium pay for essential workers
  • Water, sewer and broadband Infrastructure
 
In addition to hosting a public input meeting, the town will also prepare an online survey for town residents. This survey will be made available in the coming weeks.
 
ARPA was signed into law on March 11, 2021, in response to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.
 
Nationally, ARPA provides $1.9 trillion for continued COVID-19 response and recovery, including $350 billion for the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds.
 
Approximately $113 billion is for Massachusetts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
 
 
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MDAR Commissioner Marks 'Green Friday' at Seekonk Tree Farm

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

Seekonk Tree Farm was selected for the annual 'Green Friday' pronouncement. MDAR Commissioner John Lebeaux traveled to the family-owned farm to present Peter Sweet Jr. and family with the state proclamation encouraging state residents to buy their greenery local.

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. — State Department of Agricultural Resources Commissioner John Lebeaux traveled to Seekonk Tree Farm to celebrate "Green Friday" with the cutting of a Christmas tree.  The day is meant to encourage residents to source holiday plants from local farms.

Lebeaux presented the owners of the farm, the Sweet family, with a proclamation that marked Nov. 26 as Green Friday and outlined the many benefits of their line of work.

This includes adding $3.5 million to the state's economy each year with the sale of about 83,000 trees, providing a renewable source of energy when burned, producing biomass and removing carbon dioxide from the air, and providing stable refuge for wildlife.

"We try to rotate every year and it was the Berkshires turn this year," Lebeaux explained.

The farm has been in business since 1979, when Peter Alden Sweet Sr. married Carol Joan Wright. With the help of a $50,000 grant from MDAR, the family was able to build a gift shop/workshop that was completed about a year ago.

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