Construction Grant Changes No Longer Align with Berkshire Atheneum's Goals

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass — The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners has adjusted this round of its construction grant program, no longer aligning with the Berkshire Athenaeum's goals. 
This grant round is really no longer a renovation program, library Director Alex Reczkowski said during a trustees meeting last week.
Interested applicants need at least two locations that they would be interested in pursuing as possible libraries or locations, not just the current library, he said. Acceptance of the award is once every 30 years. 
Although the library has some physical upgrades to the building in its strategic plan, it does not have enough data for a bigger project than that, Reczkowski said. 
In the past, the grant program has been a good option for libraries to do renovations. Previously there were two steps, a design and then a construction phase.
The city had to put up $25,000 for the planning and design and the state would double match it so the library would have $75,000.
Now these two steps have been rolled into one requiring that the library and city come up with $150,000 to do all of the planning ahead of time before the construction. 
Reczkowski said the goal of the change is so that state can offer these construction grant rounds more frequently but it's been 12 years since the last round the library was in so it could potentially miss a window. 
"I think we were really enthusiastic about a potential renovation of the building, seeing how some of our needs have changed, but I don't think that we're at a place where we have a good sense of our citywide building needs," he said.
At this point, Reczkowski said his gut feeling would be to look into spaces for a branch or branches within the city, but the library is not quite ready to commit to a 30-year process.
"Especially seeing how our staff has been adjusting and our services are changing. So some of the people coming in are different. So I feel like we just aren't quite there yet. But I don't want you to feel like we're missing an opportunity," he said. 
In other news, Reference Services Supervisor Madeline Kelly has agreed to supervise the local history department and reference department.

This change will expand the reach of the local history research so other departments can use it in library projects, including restarting the progress on the veterans grant, "lovingly called the Schrab grant."

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Dalton Expects July Delivery of Ladder Truck

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
DALTON, Mass. — The Fire District is projected to have its new ladder truck delivered in five weeks, the interim Fire Chief Chris Cachat said during the Fire District meeting on Tuesday night. 
As of last week, the truck was in the paint shop, Cachat said. 
The ladder truck has been completely refurbished from the ground up. Since the start of the project Northern Fire Equipment has had people leave, which set them back on a lot of their projects, Cachat said. 
Water Commissioner Michael Kubicki questioned the expected delivery date saying that when he spoke to the owner of Northern Fire Equipment, he informed him that it would be delivered at the end of May and that there was only one other truck ahead of them in line.
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