Pittsfield Sets Session on West Side Zoning

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city's Department of Community Development, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, has been working with an urban planning and design consulting team to discuss zoning in the West Side. 
The next step in this work is to hold a series of community input sessions. The first session will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 28, at 6 p.m. at Conte Community School.
This session will provide an overview of what zoning is, what zoning can and can't do, how zoning can improve the community and the impact to residents. Attendees will be able to share ideas about what they want their community to look like while also having the opportunity to ask questions.
For more information, contact City Planner Jacinta Williams, at 413-499-9366 or jwilliams@cityofpittsfield.org.

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Pittsfield Historical Commission Plans Wahconah Park Project Support

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Historical Commission will draft a letter in support of revitalization efforts at Wahconah Park.

While the proposed project raises and rebuilds the historical grandstand, commissioners recognize it is necessary due to existing conditions.  One member of the panel has expressed a wish to see more historical materials used on the exterior.

"I think that we should be careful here for two reasons. Number one, because we're going to be supporting tearing down a structure that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and so to me, that means that our letter should be fairly specific about what we're supporting," Matthew Herzberg said.

"And I think I join most of you, and probably all of you, in supporting this project and thinking that this project is a really great thing for the city."

At the last meeting, Herzberg criticized the exterior brick on the $26.3 million design, as it does not match the current aesthetic, and the community "doesn't necessarily have a strong brick-making tradition."

He read aloud historical documentation that describes the circa 1950 Wahconah Park grandstand as a simple structure consisting of mostly steel.  It states that "the spare utilitarian lines mirror its New England heritage, a functional building set in a beautiful set in beautiful surroundings of mountains, lakes, rivers, and wooded expanses, all of which are in scale with the humankind who lives there."

"I think that the issues with the proposed design for me really highlight the kind of contradiction between what is being proposed and what this was," Herzberg said, explaining that the current structure comes out of the tradition of lighter buildings with wood and metal rather than brick and metal.

Chair John Dickson agreed to draft a letter of support for the commission to vote on at a later date.

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