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Dalton Historical Commission Reviews Next Steps for 2nd District

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
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DALTON, Mass. — The Historical Commission is reviewing next steps toward establishing its second historical district.
The proposed Dalton Center Historic District runs along Main Street and features a variety of landmarks including Mitchell Tavern, St. Agnes' Church, Zenas Crane Colt's colonial revival, and many more buildings that showcase Italian and Greek revival styles. 
It has been nearly 10 years since the commission established its first district, the Craneville Historic District.
The district, located on Main and South Street, was established on the national database on Sept. 14, 2005, and has a rich history because of the activity in building, acquiring, and using the homes in the center of Craneville. 
The current commissioners are uncertain what the most effective and feasible way to proceed in establishing its second district, as it is new territory for them so they want to hire an expert to aid in the endeavor. 
A majority of the commissioners involved in the Craneville District designation are no longer part of the Historical Commission.
Commissioner Mary Walsh, who was involved in the process of establishing the Craneville District, said the town hired preservation specialist Norene Roberts for guidance.  
She had compiled information for the first district and part of the second district but it is unclear what additional material is needed. 
Walsh recommended contacting Roberts to assist or to see if she could recommend someone but it was later determined that she passed away in 2022.
The commissioners will be reaching out to the Massachusetts Historical Society to see if it can recommend an expert to help get them started 
There is money available to hire a preservation specialist, co-Chair Deborah Kovacs said.  
The commission has funding from a state cultural grant in the amount of $5,000. In addition, there is funding from a $15,000 matching grant that was approved during a town meeting in May 2022 for the establishment of the second and a third historic district. 
At the time of town meeting, the Historic Commission believed that it would cost $30,000 to establish the next two districts.
When the commission decided to lower the scope for establishing its remaining two historical districts in June, it was determined it would cost $10,000 to establish each district. 
The commission originally planned on establishing Dalton Center and the third district, East Main Street, simultaneously but decided it would be easier to establish them one at a time.  
Using the $5,000 from the state cultural grant will allow for a matching amount of $5,000 from the town, which will be used to establish the Dalton Center Historic District. 
The commission will attempt to establish the third district at a later time and will need to come up with $5,000 to qualify for another matching grant of $5,000 from the town. 
Kovacs recommended reaching out to the new Town Planner Janko Tomasic since he has experience related to establishing historic districts.  
While interning in the Worcester County town of Athol, Tomasic helped inventory, update and organize historical documentation needed for establishing a historic district there. 
"The research was done by the Historical Commission in Athol and I kind of worked in tandem with them, because I like history and I've been interested in historic preservation since I got into planning," Tomasic said in a follow up interview. 
Depending on what tasks the Historical Commission needs, Tomasic said he believes he can aid in this endeavor and hopes to do so. 
An initiative like this is more involved than his previous experience working in an auxiliary support role but he is hoping to help in any way he can, he said.
"I'm hoping that I can bring something to the table that will help make this easier for them, or will just improve the overall district, the overall community, and just help the historic commission," Tomasic said. 
He plans to keep in contact with Kovacs and co-Chair Louisa Horth to see what he can do to help within the bounds of his other duties so he does not fall behind. 

Tags: historic district,   historical commission,   

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Marchetti Announces Jazz Art Contest Winners

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

Brooklyn Duck is this year's winner of the contest and her work will be used for the Pittsfield City Jazz Festival. 

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield High School has 75 jazzy artworks in City Hall, one of which was chosen to represent the 2024 Pittsfield City Jazz Festival.

Mayor Peter Marchetti on Thursday congratulated the winners of the annual Berkshires Jazz Student Art Contest. PHS junior Brooklyn Duck won first place followed by senior Nye Stedman and sophomore Karalin Melendez.

Duck's artwork features a colorful array of musical instruments and musicians with piano keys winding down the center.  She said that she was inspired by her teacher Lisa Ostellino and of course, jazz music.

"It's always good to invite people in the city hall and it's actually really great to be walking outside of my office and seeing the artwork," Marchetti said.

The festival runs April 18 to 28 with various events in Downtown Pittsfield.

Judges remained anonymous but it was revealed that they thought Duck's figures were well done and worked well with the curving piano keys. They felt that Stedman's piece featuring cats was fun with plenty of attention-grabbing aspects and a good concept. The judges liked Melendez's use of strong bold colors and graphics.

President and founder of Berkshires Jazz Edward Bride said Jazz Appreciation Month is a "big deal," officially recognized by the Smithsonian Institution and Congress.

"And we're making it a big deal with our student art contest," he added. "We want to thank Mayor Marchetti for allowing us to hang this wonderful work in the City Hall quarters and for being here to make the announcement of who the winners are."

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