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Berkshire Briefs: Pittsfield Project Gets $3.5M; Vote Set on Administration Changes
09:28AM / Tuesday, February 22, 2011
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Silk Mills Housing Project Awarded $3.5M in Incentives
Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The state gave the developers of the A.H. Rice Silk Mills on Wednesday more incentive to convert the historic building into a 45-unit apartment building.

Gov. Deval Patrick announced $1 million in tax incentives and about $2.5 million in Department of Housing and Community Development subsidies to assist the $13 million redevelopment.

The mill, at 55 Spring St., was purchased by the development company Rees-Larkin Development LLC after previous owner Jim Miller moved the operation in 2005. Rees-Larkin already received $1.1 million in federal and state historic tax credits and the city received $500,000 from DHCD to purchase the property.

Jon Rudzinski, of the development company, previously said the group hopes to break ground on redeveloping the 130-year-old mill in April. The redevelopment will create apartments ranging in rental costs from $575 to $975 with five units being specifically for extremely low-income households. The project has been estimated to create 97 jobs.

The city approved the project in 2009.

The newest $1 million was part of $71.37 million distributed statewide for 31 rental developments in 21 cities and towns.

Lanesborough Settles Lawsuit Over Mall Road Work
By Al Hartheimer
Lanesborough News

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — The lawsuit between the town and Guertin-Elkerton & Associates(G-E) over the mall access road has been settled.

The town sued G-E for $325,000 for lack of service in designing the connector road. That was the amount paid up to the time the Stoneham engineering firm was discharged. The town settled for $273,750, $125,000 which will go to the Lanesborough Stabilization Fund. The balance will be for attorneys' fees and the connector road's authority, the Baker Hill Road District, to reimburse it for money previously expended to G-E.

Pittsfield Police Release Information On Weekend Crash
By Larry Kratka
Berkshire News Network

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield police have released information about a single-vehicle crash on Saturday evening that punched a hole through the city's maintenance building on West Housatonic Street.

Police identified the driver of the car that went through the building as 25-year-old Dante Johnson of Pittsfield, who remains in Berkshire Medical Center, recovering from injuries sustained in the crash.

Police said they believe that speed may have played a factor in the 7 p.m. crash as Johnson was eastbound on West Housatonic Street when, for some reason, he lost control of his car and hit the building. No one was inside the building at the time and Johnson was alone in his vehicle. The crash remains under investigation.

The city has been seeking to replace the century-old brick building across from Clapp Park. The building is only 13,000 square feet and its second floor is no longer structurally safe for heavy equipment. An attempt to buy a building and 11 acres on East Street to replace it was recently scotched by a City Council subcommittee over concerns of cost and pollution. 

Pittsfield City Council Will Vote on Administrative Changes
Staff Reports

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council will decide Tuesday night on whether to create a director of administrative services to directly oversee five departments.

The Committee on Ordinance and Rules is recommending both a director of administrative services and a personnel manager. The new director would oversee the airport, veterans and information services, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, the Council on Aging and personnel, and would report directly to the mayor. The personnel manager would elevate the current personnel technician. Creating both positions would cost the city about $15,000.

While the personnel manager had broader support, the administration job passed 3-2 with several councilors questioning whether the position should be left up to the incoming mayor and how it would affect public relations and inquiries to the mayor's office since it would become one of his two staff positions.

The council will also take up an agreement with the Berkshire Community Action Council in regards to continuing the West Side Farm Project; a $306,000 state grant for sidewalk and utility improvements to Spring, Cherry, Burbank and Willow streets, and the transfer of $40,000 borrowed for the Lake Pontoosuc wall for the Burbank Park bank stabilization project.

The full agenda can be found here.
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