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Pittsfield announces second and final $2.9 million round of ARPA funding for community projects

A stone building with a colonnade.
Josh Landes
/
WAMC

The mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts announced the second and final round of American Rescue Plan Act funding disbursements for community-proposed projects Wednesday.

During the first round of funding, 18 individual grants accounted for almost $6 million in ARPA funding. The city received around $40 million in total from the federal COVID-19 relief legislation signed into law by President Joe Biden in March 2021. Mayor Linda Tyer held a press conference about the distribution of $2.9 million in ARPA money to 19 recipients at city hall.

“When Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act, it emphasized the importance of investing in post pandemic recovery, especially for people who had been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic," said the mayor. "Even in our community forums, we heard over and over again that there are Pittsfield residents of all ages who were negatively affected by COVID-19. So in this way, Congress and the community are aligned in their mission.”

Tyer said that the largest single disbursement – $600,000 – will go to 18 Degrees Early Education Family Care.

“This is for the addition of family liaisons to the Early Education and Care team to ensure that Pittsfield families and children receive in class and at home support to remote to promote positive and adaptive development and behaviors,” she explained.

The next largest chunk, $400,000, went to the Brien Center.

“As a provider of community based behavioral health care, these funds will enhance the utilization of their Fenn Street campus, implement a new electronic health record system to improve the delivery of mental health care services, and implement a transportation program for Pittsfield residents,” said Tyer.

$350,000 was directed to the Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corporation.

“To expand PERC’s technical assistance grants that are provided to small businesses for post pandemic economic recovery and to implement a new program in partnership with Downtown Pittsfield Inc. for assisting downtown businesses also with post pandemic economic recovery,” said the mayor.

$245,000 went to the Berkshire Dream Center.

“To support the care and assistance needed for the under resourced residents of Morningside neighborhood by helping the Berkshire Dream Center to replace its roof and related repairs,” explained Tyer.

The Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority secured $240,000.

“This funding is to support healthy community relationships through the expansion of the Family School Dispute Resolution program which includes mediation, restorative justice, and conflict resolution,” said the mayor.

Berkshire Theatre Group took home $220,000.

“To create a new three-year job training program by connecting Pittsfield High School students with skilled professionals in a variety of theater careers,” said Tyer.

$160,000 went to Solider On, the private nonprofit that works to end homelessness for veterans.

“To address delayed care caused by the pandemic by funding a nurse navigator to assist veterans in developing personal wellness action plans and expanding access to health care resources and services,” Tyer said.

Another $160,000 disbursement went to Mass Audubon.

“For Morningside school students to participate in a free, four week summer camp at Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary,” explained the mayor.

Child Care Of The Berkshires received $125,000.

“For the renovation of the Norman Rockwell Early Childhood Center to create healthy post pandemic spaces for daycare programming, and developmental screening for Pittsfield children,” said Tyer.

The Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center got $100,000.

“For capital improvements to the center's summer camp, so that children experience enhanced outdoor activities, social services, and life skills development,” said Tyer.

Other groups that received funding include Berkshire County Arc, the Pediatric Development Center, the Berkshire Civic Ballet, the Berkshire Center for Justice, and more.

You can find the full list here:

• 18 Degrees Early Education Family Care: $600,000 – for the addition of Family Liaisons to the Early Education and Care team to ensure that Pittsfield families and children receive in-class and at-home support to promote positive and adaptive development and behaviors.

• Berkshire Center for Justice: $50,000 – to expand pro bono legal services in response to the significant increase in hardships caused by the pandemic related to employability and housing.

• Berkshire Civic Ballet: $51,920 – to promote the health and well-being of Pittsfield children through movement and dance class scholarships.

• Berkshire Community College: $70,000 – for BCC’s partnership with Lever’s summer Berkshire Internship program to provide Pittsfield students with access to paid internships at Pittsfield businesses.

• Berkshire County Arc: $50,000 – to establish a day center in the Westside to help people with disabilities gain independent living skills, including job training.

• Berkshire County Regional Housing Authority: $240,000 – to support healthy community relationships through the expansion of the Family/School Dispute Resolution Program including mediation, restorative justice, and conflict resolution

• Berkshire Dream Center: $245,000 – to support the care and assistance needed for the under-resourced Morningside residents by helping the Berkshire Dream Center to replace its roof and related repairs.

• Berkshire Music School: $20,000 – to support the renovations needed to create post-pandemic safe air quality in rehearsal and performance spaces used by music students of all ages.

• Berkshire Nursing Families: $10,000 – for the post-COVID re-opening and expansion of lactation and parenting support programs for Pittsfield mothers and babies.

• Berkshire Theatre Group: $220,000 – to create a new three-year job training program by connecting Pittsfield high school students with skilled professionals in a variety of theater careers.

• Brien Center: $400,000 – as a provider of community based behavioral health care, these funds will enhance the utilization of their Fenn Street Campus, implement a new electronic

health records system to improve the delivery of mental health care services, and implement a transportation program for Pittsfield clients.

• Child Care of the Berkshires: $125,000 – for the renovation of the Norman Rockwell Early Childhood Center to create healthy post-pandemic spaces for day care programming and developmental screenings for Pittsfield children.

• Community Legal Aid: $30,000 – to address increased need for legal aid caused by the pandemic by expanding Pittsfield residents’ access to free legal services related to housing and employment.

• Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center: $100,000 – for capital improvements to the center’s summer camp so that children experience enhanced outdoor activities, social services, and life skills development.

• Jacob’s Pillow: $30,000 – to fund dance experiences for Pittsfield Public School students, establish a Pittsfield-based dance residency program, and provide community-based dance workshops in Pittsfield.

• Mass Audubon: $160,000 – for Morningside school students to participate in a free, four-week summer camp at Canoe Meadows Wildlife Sanctuary.

• Pediatric Development Center: $65,000 – for the creation of an outdoor therapy space for Pittsfield children to enhance their growth in motor skills and social development.

• Pittsfield Economic Revitalization Corporation (PERC): $350,000 – to expand PERC’s technical assistance grants to small businesses and to develop a new program in partnership with Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. for assisting downtown businesses with post-pandemic economic recovery.

• Soldier On: $160,000 – to address delayed care caused by the pandemic by funding a nurse navigator to assist veterans in developing personal Wellness Action Plans and expanding access to health care resources and services.

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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