PITTSFIELD – Community talks on how to spend the $ 40.6 million federal coronavirus aid fund that will be directed to Pittsfield over the next two years. City officials plan to focus the upcoming community forums on potential housing, neighborhood and cultural organization projects.
The money comes from the federal government’s American Rescue Plan Act – known as ARPA – which aims to mitigate some of the economic and health impacts on cities, businesses, and families as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
City guides and residents will gather at Morningside Community School on Monday at 6:00 p.m. to discuss how federal aid can be used to respond to housing needs in the city and support the neighborhoods hardest hit by the pandemic.
The last community forum on projects related to cultural organizations will take place on Wednesday at 11 a.m. in the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts. The city provides an American sign language translator and a Spanish translator at each meeting.
Deanna Ruffer, director of community development, said census areas in the Morningside and West Side neighborhoods have been highlighted for additional help.
Local residents share their thoughts in person and online. A survey on the use of the money released by the city earlier this month had more than 800 responses as of Friday. The survey will be available through September 1 on the city’s American Rescue Plan Act landing page.
City officials say they were impressed with the amount of feedback forums on public health, human services and economic development that were produced last week.
Pittsfield Receives $ 40 Million Total COVID Aid; Residents say it is used for housing, mental health
At these meetings, residents asked the city to prioritize support for the city’s low-income workforce, including initiatives such as expanded childcare, economic support for freelancers and health workers, and additional housing options. Local residents said the city can begin rebuilding once the workers’ basic needs are met.
A Taco Bell location on Berkshire Crossing could one day house another Tex-Mex restaurant giant. On Friday, the Conservation Commission will review a letter of intent from Chipotle Inc. to convert the Taco Bell site into a Chipotle franchise.
Representatives from Tennessee-based Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc., who filed the proposal on behalf of Chipotle, said a lease was in the works between the burrito magnate and the property owner of Berkshire Crossing Brixmor.
A redevelopment plan, presented to the Commission in late July, includes widening and paving the existing driveway, upgrading the site’s utility facilities, and replacing the walkways with new designs that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. A new rainwater management system would be added to the site to reduce possible runoff impacts on the adjacent East Branch Housatonic River.
The floor plans of the building would remain largely the same.
Last year, the city council approved special permission to build a new Taco Bell facility off Dalton Avenue MedExpress. The new 2,700 square meter building will allow Taco Bell to move across the street and make its current property available for a takeover by Chipotle.
According to the proposal, Chipotle has “completed a market study of the region and based on the location of existing restaurants and other developments” and determined that Taco Bell’s current location is “most economical for the success of the proposed project”.
The fast food giant currently operates nearly 3,000 restaurant locations in the United States. The closest franchise to Pittsfield is in Rensselaer, NY
heads upOn Monday and Tuesday, The Mount commemorates the 50th anniversary of National Public Radio’s first broadcast and four of the women who made the news.
Journalist Lisa Napoli will tell the stories of Susan Stamberg, Linda Wertheimer, Nina Totenberg and Cokie Roberts; Journalists who helped set the news agenda of their day. Napoli is the keynote speaker at the newest event in the Mount’s Summer Lecture Series. The talks begin on Monday at 4 p.m. and on Tuesday at 11 a.m. in the kitchen garden tent.
Tickets can be purchased at edithwharton.org.