Pittsfield Community Preservation Committee Begins Review of FY22 Applications / iBerkshires.com

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Community Preservation Committee Monday took a closer look at six of 11 Community Preservation Act requests for fiscal year 2022 ranging from $7,500 to $150,000.

The panel received presentations on the planning for the Morningside Community School playground, the restoration of the stained glass windows at St. Stephen’s Church and four nominations from the City of Pittsfield.

These included the relocation and restoration of a Vietnam War memorial mural on East Housatonic Street, repairs to the Clapp Park Little League buildings, phase two of the West End Cemetery restorations and improvements to the Kirvin Park disc golf course.

The rating of the projects by the committee members will be compiled later this month and the city council will address the proposals for a final vote in June.

Morningside Community School is asking for $24,000 to build a playground.

Principal Monica Zanin explained that the school would like to develop a recreation area in the open space behind the school that is accessible to everyone and also gives back to the community.

Ideas for the plan are generated through collaborative work within the school and with the neighboring neighborhood.

In late 2020, the school raised approximately $5,000 to benefit students through a virtual jazz party hosted by five-time Grammy Award-winning musician Questlove, who is the frontman of in-house band “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon’s “The Roots” and just also won an Oscar.

The event titled “Rent Party Jazz” was inspired by author William Miller’s children’s book of the same name about New Orleans in the 1930s. “Rent Party Jazz” is required reading on the Morningside schedule , as it deals with issues such as poverty, racial inequality and evictions.

When the children were asked how they would like to use the money to give back to the community, most ideas came back to improving the school grounds with better recreational facilities and a large open space for fun. of all.

“We wanted to come back here just to talk to you a bit about the proposal to do the amount of work that would be needed to really bring a community together and have lasting effects based on that experience,” Zanin said.

“And righting the wrongs and what the children have learned and how we can, as them living in the community and having family members in the community, how they can come back and continue to use this space forever. “

The school is looking to launch general planning – including student, community and teacher surveys – in September with a plan established by January 2023. Soon after, they would like to apply for building funds.

“We are looking to undertake all public input and some kind of design development of concept designs in the fall, but also in the fall, I know the next opportunity for CPA applications is in the fall of 2022” , Park, Open Space and Natural Resources Program Director James McGrath explained.

“I think the idea was for Morningside School to submit an application with a certain amount of construction funding, almost like a placeholder so that when the project gets to that point it will be fleshed out nicely and Berkshire Design Group will have developed a final construction plan or cost estimate for these upgrades, so I think the school was looking to use the November 2022 bid process for this project, moving it forward a bit faster than the next round.”

Zanin also mentioned that she would like to work with the Berkshire County Sheriff’s Department to remove barbed wire fencing and window bars from the former Second Street Jail that adjoins the school.

One of the CPA’s largest requests, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church is asking for $150,000 to preserve its stained glass windows.

Property manager and member of the vestry, John Garinther, explained that the church would like to install protective glazing on 14 of its stained glass windows: one balcony window, 11 nave windows and two chapel windows.

The balcony window and nave windows were made by Louis Comfort Tiffany, Mary Elizabeth Tillinghast and an unknown English artist.

The chapel windows were designed and installed by J. Wipell & Co. of Exeter, England in the 1930s.

To protect the windows, the church wants to install frames that best reproduce the lines of the stained glass window. Some repairs to deteriorating window frames are also required.

Garinther said the project would cost around $165,000. If the church receives the CPA money, its endowment fund will cover the difference.

He also described the ways St. Stephen’s benefits the community. The church currently has three tenants: the Cathedral of the Beloved, the Berkshire Immigration Center and the Jewish Family Service, which support Afghan refugees.

The church has a full kitchen that serves 150 meals a week and also lends its space for community groups and performances.

“We have a lot of activity going on and our space needs regular maintenance for that reason,” Garinther explained.

“And as you can imagine, in such a large space, it’s costing us a lot of money, a lot of our budget, and whatever we can get from this grant would allow us to spend more on the other areas that must be maintained.”

There were questions about the eligibility of this project due to an anti-state aid amendment that prohibits the use of public funds to private entities for private gain. Planner CJ Hoss has agreed to consult with City Solicitor Stephen Pagnotta on the matter.

There’s no final decision yet, but Hoss said he doesn’t see a problem with the application due to the historic nature of the structure. He will soon consult Pagnotta.

The city is seeking $9,000 in funding to replace the roof of the Clapp Park Little League building which was built in 1985. The building maintenance department will replace the roof in the fall after baseball season and before Winter.

“It serves a number of Little League uses, it houses restrooms, there’s a concession window where sodas, chips and water are sold which helps support the league, there’s a small area where the league can store tools and equipment to maintain the fields,” McGrath explained.

“The second floor of the building is mostly an enclosed space where they can open a kind of big window and they can see the pitch and that’s where the game scores and the announcers are housed with a view of the fields and then, well sure there is a roof deck for viewing and that is visible on the south side of the building from this view.”

He added that the roof has not been repaired for several years and is compromised by leaks and gaps for animals to get inside.

The funding would be used entirely to purchase supplies such as roofing shingles, new plywood and drywall for the ceiling.

“There’s just, I think, a strong philosophy that young boys and girls in our community deserve to be part of programs that promote teamwork and athletics and all of those things that we hope kids will achieve. on the ground and it really all comes down to the moms and dads and others who help run these programs and they do it all as volunteers,” McGrath said after a board member issued the assumption that the city had excellent baseball teams.

“And major kudos should be given to them because there’s very little involvement from the city and the parks department and little league programs, of course we’re huge supporters and we always answer the phone when they call and help where we can but this is an all-volunteer program that has operated not just in Pittsfield but across the country for many, many years,”

“It’s super successful, and I think that’s part and parcel of being a Pittsfielder.”

The panel also received an update on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Project “Lest We Forget” from
Director of Cultural Development Jennifer Glockner. The city is looking to move it from the corner of West Housatonic and South Street to a new location for better visibility and has requested $15,000 in CPA funds.

Glockner revealed Monday that the mural will be recreated using as much restoration as possible and that the city is considering a place for its relocation.

“We use the word ‘restore’ because we really want the same artistic integrity, but ultimately we’re going to redo whatever mural we think about,” she explained.

“There’s a signage company and an artist involved and so it’s going to be recreated using as much restoration as possible.”

The hope is to move it to 50 Pearl St. near the James E. Callahan Chapter 65 Vietnam Veterans building. The building’s owners have not yet committed to displaying the mural, but Glockner said they are in touch with the city and are an integral part of the project.

“It’s the cart and the horse right now, we’re trying to get all the financing in place to make this happen before owner approval,” she said.

“So we feel very good about that, very optimistic with all the veterans organizations involved and that, again, would take us a bit over the edge.”

The CPA applications reviewed at this meeting are:

• City of Pittsfield Cultural Development/Lest We Forget Mural, $15,000
• Restoration of the Saint-Étienne church and stained glass window, $150,000
• Morningside School/Playground Planning, $24,000
• City of Pittsfield DCD/Clapp Park Little League Buildings, $9,000
• City of Pittsfield DCD/West Park Cemetery Restoration, $13,325
• City of Pittsfield DCD/Kirvin Park Disc Golf, $7,500

Full details of the project are available on the city’s website.

Keywords: PCA,

Comments are closed.