PITTSFIELD, Mass. — City Council President Peter Marchetti is embarking on a second run for the corner office next year.
He touts his long experience on the council, a 35-year career at the Pittsfield Cooperative Bank, and his presence in the community as culminating factors to being a successful city leader.
Both Marchetti and former Councilor John Krol informally announced last week their intent to run for the corner office in the coming year. Incumbent Linda Tyer has said she will reveal her decision on whether to stand for re-election after the holidays.
"I think for the last 30 years, my life has been something with Pittsfield, whether it be the parade, or the initiatives, or [Pittsfield Community Television] or coaching youth bowling," Marchetti said. "I think becoming mayor just puts the focal point on what I've been doing for the last 30 years and trying to improve the community one block or one person at a time."
Marchetti ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2011 against Daniel Bianchi with a vision to bring people together and he said that still holds true.
"I try to find a compromise or a collaborative solution and so I think that skill set and my desire to kind of bring Pittsfield together," he said about his decision to run again. "I grew up here, it's a great place to live, and I think everyone working in the same direction can lend a hand to all the major issues that are coming forward."
The COVID-19 pandemic occurred during his council leadership and that, he said, represented a host of new challenges and ways of conducting business.
"There were two philosophies of either keep going, or we stop everything, and if we had chosen to stop everything after the very first meeting, the government would have not accomplished much for a year so we needed to find a way," Marchetti said.
"And so I think that that's just one of the things, you have to have the tenacity to move forward and figure out what is important and when we first started meetings, it was 'we're only going to deal with important issues' and the longer that COVID seemed to drag on we dealt with whatever we needed to deal with."
He identified passing the fiscal 2021 budget a couple of months into the pandemic as one of the greatest accomplishments of that unprecedented time.
"The budget process is pretty grueling as it is and I think the fact that we kept things moving ...," Marchetti added. "Life didn't stop, so we were still debating [tax increment finance agreements] and we were still debating important issues where if we had chosen to sit back and do nothing for two years, we'd be further behind the rest of the county or the rest of the state."
Because the community has been hurt by COVID, one of his top priorities is to solidify an economic development plan that includes steps forward for downtown Pittsfield.
"Downtown has changed quite a bit and I think there needs to be some communication about what downtown should look like and how to make it look that way," he said, adding that the process starts with communication and understanding the needs of the corridor, businesses, and the community.
"It's very clear that they're upset but what are they upset with? And I think there's a variety of issues that are troubling them, and so which is the biggest issue? And let's tackle that one first," he added.
The Marchetti feels that some kind of pedestrian mall in the downtown part of North Street would emphasize its offerings. He also sees a need for more events that tie into the business community, as it seems that they are sometimes separated.
"I served on the [Downtown Pittsfield Inc.] board for several years and there isn't a 'one size fits all' for everybody in downtown because every business has different needs," he said.
Education is also an area of focus. As an advocate for the district, he is concerned that the circumstances of the pandemic may have affected the school system. Marchetti also prioritizes the city's infrastructure, such as the buildings and roads, and the impact that deferred maintenance has on getting projects done.
His tenure as an at-large councilor began in 2001 but he was not re-elected two years later. He came back to the council in 2005 and then took a four-year break after losing the 2011 mayoral election by 116 votes. He returned in 2015 and will begin his eighth year as council president in January.
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Pittsfield ZBA Grants Casella Permit for Waste Transfer Facility
By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Zoning Board of Appeals calls Casella's planned redevelopment of the former trash incinerator an improvement to the site.
Last week, the panel approved a special permit to allow a waste transfer facility at the site on 500 Hubbard Ave. Casella Waste Management purchased the waste transfer facility on Hubbard Avenue from Community Eco Power LLC, which filed for bankruptcy in 2021 and has demolished it for redevelopment into a waste transfer station.
The owners say the trash will be brought to the facility and transferred away daily. Concerns that were voiced about the project include odor and impacts to the surrounding area but Casella says the new operation will be less of an impact than the former.
"I think this is going to be a vast improvement based upon the facility that was there previously. I know that sometimes you would get a sight of the other one, they used to dump the waste and it was laying like a floating pond," board member John Fitzgerald said.
"And since the trash is not going to be there, it's going to be in and out, I think the odor will be reduced and I think the vermin will be reduced."
It was also pointed out that the site has handled trash for 40 years.
"I think a lot of the odor before was related to burning," board member Esther Anderson "And there's not going to be burning so it it's going to be greatly reducing the amount of odor and if it's not sitting there is no place for vermin to be."
The former incinerator, including a 118-foot tall stack, has already been demolished a fabric structure is being used temporarily for waste handling.
Fixed in front of the Pittsfield Police Station, the statue honors thirteen former K9s dating back to 1976. Blue roses were placed for each pup next to the bronze Shepard that sits proudly on top.
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Growing up in upper Manhattan in New York City, he attended and graduated from what was then All Hallows Institute, a private boy's prep school. He did his basic training at Fort Riley, Kan.
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