PITTSFIELD TO HOLD OPEN HOUSE TO DISCUSS REVITALIZATION OF TYLER STREET AND THE MORNINGSIDE NEIGHBORHOOD
(PITTSFIELD, Mass.) – MassDevelopment, the Tyler Street Business Group, the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority, and the City of Pittsfield will hold a February 3 open house to solicit public input on the Tyler Street Transformative Development Initiative. The open house, which will take place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Union Hall at 789 Tyler St., includes a series of stations where attendees can provide input on a variety of topics. The event does not involve a presentation, and interested parties are encouraged to attend at their convenience. The intent of the day is to help project partners identify needs and opportunities to support the revitalization of Tyler Street and the Morningside neighborhood.
“We are thrilled to have this opportunity to focus on the revitalization of Tyler Street and the Morningside neighborhood, and this open house offers a unique opportunity for everyone to provide input into our collective future,” said Diane Marcella, President, Tyler Street Business Group Inc.
The open house will include a series of hands-on stations at which participants can draw on maps and respond to open-ended questions. Stations will include housing and neighborhood development; arts and culture; parks and recreation; community and food resources; and public transportation. These stations will also have questions regarding ‘places and spaces’ such as the Morningside School area and the former St. Mary the Morningstar Church. The low-key approach allows community members to come and go as they please and participate as much as they would like.
“Each and every neighborhood in the City of Pittsfield offers a vitality and special quality that contributes to the greatness of Pittsfield as a whole. The revitalization of Tyler Street and the Morningside neighborhood not only demonstrates a collaborative commitment to preserving those intrinsic qualities that have served the area well, but it also recognizes the importance of the community’s voice in this developing process,” said Mayor Linda Tyer. “It is this community’s spirit and energy that will help to inform the good work ahead that will serve present members of our community, and generations to come."
MassDevelopment selected the Tyler Street District – running the length of Tyler Street from First Street on the west, to Woodlawn Avenue on the east, and Stoddard Avenue to the north and Kellogg Street to the south – in 2014 as one of 10 Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) Districts in Development. The Districts receive enhanced technical assistance, real-estate services, and/or equity investments in real estate from MassDevelopment. TDI is a redevelopment program for Gateway Cities designed to enhance local public-private engagement and community identity; stimulate an improved quality-of-life for local residents; and spur increased investment and economic activity.
“We’re pleased to partner with Pittsfield and the Tyler Street Business Group to help this neighborhood realize its potential as a thriving residential and business district,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “We look forward to the community’s input, and are grateful for the thoughtful and dedicated efforts to revitalize downtown.”
MassDevelopment recently announced that Pittsfield will receive a TDI Fellow in the spring to advance the city’s local redevelopment vision. The TDI Fellow, who will have experience in city planning, community partnership building, real estate, and/or economic development, will work in Pittsfield for three years in collaboration with local partners.
“Our community stands to benefit from the knowledge and expertise that the Fellow will bring to this revitalization project. We’re excited to see how the intersection of this work, and other collaborative efforts, will develop, transform and enhance Tyler Street and the Morningside neighborhood,” said Mayor Tyer.
Since General Electric’s departure from Pittsfield, long-term residents attracted by stable employment near Tyler Street and the Morningside neighborhood have been partially replaced by new residents looking for local and regional employment opportunities. The neighborhood also has declining homeownership rates. Encouragingly, the presence of the Berkshire Medical Center on the west end of Tyler Street and the Berkshire Innovation Center and the William Stanley Business Park on the east end of the street has the potential to provide employment opportunities and improve homeownership rates.
“The Tyler Street TDI is a unique opportunity to create a plan that is based on the needs identified by people living in the neighborhood and working and owning businesses on Tyler Street. It is truly a ‘place-based’ plan built from the ground up. The result will form the basis for a revitalized Tyler Street and Morningside neighborhood,” said Lisa Nagle, Principal with Elan Planning, Design & Landscape Architecture in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2015, MassDevelopment financed or managed 294 projects generating investment of more than $2.5 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create about 6,100 jobs and build or rehabilitate about 2,000 residential units.