Western Mass Gets $13M in Federal Funding

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BOSTON — The state's federal representatives were able to secure $13 million in federal funding for Western Massachusetts in the end-of-year omnibus spending package.
U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, and U.S. Reps. Richard Neal and James McGovern announced on Thursday the funding for 16 community-based projects across Western Massachusetts.
"I am proud to have procured this funding for communities across the First District of Massachusetts," said Neal, who was chairman of the Ways & Means Committee when the spending package passed in December. "In partnering with community leaders, I believe we have identified several projects that will contribute greatly to the diverse economic landscape in western Massachusetts. Robust investments in local governments, colleges and universities, hospitals, and non-profits will have a profound impact on our regional economies."
The funds include the $200,000 that Neal was able to secure in Community Project Funds to support a feasibility study for the Hoosic River Basin Flood Control Project.
Also getting funding is the Berkshire Family YMCA in Pittsfield, which is receiving $1 million toward the renovation of its historic North Street building, which will increase licensed affordable child-care slots by 35 percent as well as expand resources for adults and seniors, promote energy efficiency, and ensure the building's ADA compliance.
Jacob's Pillow in Becket is getting $100,000 to engage 10 schools in its nationally recognized arts program and the  Berkshire Black Economic Council Business Incubator in Pittsfield is getting $455,000 to improve community economic development services and develop a business incubator responsive to the needs of Black-owned businesses and Black entrepreneurs.
Woodlands Partnership of Northwest Massachusetts, formerly known as the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership, is in line for $540,000 to strengthen forest conservation and stewardship efforts that supports tourism and local businesses.
Other funding includes: 
  • $1,110,661 for the renovation and expansion of the Jones Library in Amherst.
  • $465,000 for Springfield Museum's "Biomes Around the World" to upgrade the wildlife exhibits.
  • $150,000 for Red Gate Farm in Ashfield to complete the construction of a new student housing facility and dining hall.
  • $2,854,800 to bring Chicopee's wastewater plant in compliance with new nitrogen removal standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state.
  • $975,000 for the town of Montague and Turners Falls Avenue to restore an ADA compliant, pedestrian-oriented streetscape to the state-designated Cultural District, a major hub for retail, dining, and entertainment. 
  • $450,000 for the Franklin Regional Council of Governments in Franklin County to replace the region's aging analog public safety radio system and another $165,000 to research methods on retaining and recruiting police offers.
  • $1,280,000 for Agawam to replace the White Brook culvert under North Street.
  • $2,000,000 for Holyoke's River Terrace sewer and stormwater project.
  • $640,000 for the Gándara Center in Springfield to increase access to behavioral health services for individuals experiencing substance use disorders and serious mental illness.
  • $1 million for Girls Inc. of the Valley in Holyoke to purchase and renovate a new permanent headquarters to ensure more than 1,000 girls from marginalized communities in Holyoke, Springfield, and Chicopee have access to educational resources. 


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North Adams Commission Passes on River Street Parking Ban

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Traffic Commission is holding off on any changes to parking along River Street near the Corner Store. 
The commission had received a letter from resident Nancy Bullett and several phone calls from residents about congestion specifically between Holden and North Holden streets caused by cars parked along River Street.
"The way the cars were parked right up to the corner and with the high, like the SUVs, and that [drivers turning out of  North Holden] really couldn't see oncoming traffic," Chair MaryAnn King told the commission on March 8. "You had to like almost pull out halfway in the road to turn before you can see oncoming traffic."
She said she didn't want to hurt any businesses by prohibiting parking along the north side and so had spoken with the police. The result was the Highway Department installed new signs for "no parking here to corner" on both sides of the street to remind motorists that parking within 20 feet of an intersection is prohibited. 
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