BEAT Receives Grant to Renovate Environmental Leadership and Education Center

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Massachusetts Cultural Council has awarded a Cultural Facilities Fund grant of $200,000 to Berkshire Environmental Action Team (BEAT) in support of buying and renovating BEAT's new Environmental Leadership & Education Center. 
 
On November 8, 2021, BEAT was able to buy their property at 20 Chapel Street in Pittsfield — right on the banks of the southwest branch of the Housatonic River. 
 
Next, BEAT will be restoring the riverbank by removing invasive species and replanting with native, wildlife-supporting plants. Funding from the Cultural Facilities Fund will allow them to begin renovations to make their building fully accessible by adding an accessible bathroom, a lift to get between floors, and an accessible balcony from which to observe wildlife and the river. 
 
BEAT will also be conducting a deep energy retrofit as an energy efficiency demonstration project to show how an old building (originally built in 1868) can install solar and batteries to go fossil-fuel free. BEAT has been working with local architect Wendy Brown and construction consultant East Branch Studio who estimate the total cost of the building renovations to be $726,505 — so BEAT still has to raise money.
 
"It is so impressive to see how far BEAT has come since I first got involved with the organization," said Logan Malik, the Clean Energy Director at the Massachusetts Climate Action Network and a member of BEAT's Board of Directors. 
 
Malik first started with BEAT as a Program Associate back in 2018. After graduate school, he returned as a full-time Advocacy Coordinator.
 
"This grant will bring us so much closer to realizing the organization's vision for an Environmental Leadership & Education Center in Pittsfield by enabling us to demonstrate how to renovate a building — first built in 1868 — into a fully accessible, net-zero energy, fossil-fuel-free environmental hub for the Berkshire community," he said.
 
BEAT will be holding an Open House Saturday, May 21, from 1 to 3 pm. 
 
"We are excited to show everyone our property as it is now and explain our vision for the future. Everyone is invited, but please note that while we have a ramp into our building, we do not yet have an accessible bathroom,"  Jane Winn, Executive Director said. 
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General Dynamics Seeks Small-Business Connections

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

Congressman Neal says there are more than 133,000 Massachusetts residents employed by small businesses in the state. 

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — General Dynamics Mission Systems gathered around 75 small businesses and professional organizations at the Berkshire Innovation Center on Monday for a day of making connections.

The event titled "Innovating for The Future" sought to expand the company's supply chain in the state and further GD's relationship with the community by strengthening the local industrial sector.  

"I think one of our main objectives today is to make connections. Make connections between General Dynamics and all of the folks we have here representing the various companies, we have several of the General Dynamics companies represented," Vice President of Supply Chain Management Ann Rusher said.

"So getting our message out as to what our needs are and what would be important for small businesses to be able to support us and making the connections than with the small business, what are their capabilities and where do they want to go, everyone's on their own respective growth journeys, and then how do we make the connection so that we can follow up and actually find ways to work together and to help each other and collaborate on the hard problems that we are facing right now."

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