Pittsfield Builds A Better Block on Tyler Street

Better Block logoYou may have been driving down Tyler Street this past weekend and noticed something very different: a whole block bustling with activity. That’s the point of Team Better Block. In just a few short months they worked with Mass Development’s Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) to re-imagine the block between the old Hess Station and Good Will Industries.

volunteers
Volunteers getting ready to knock on doors near Tyler St.

When Working Cities Pittsfield volunteers knocked on neighborhood doors to raise awareness of the project, they asked residents what their least favorite block on the street is. Nearly everyone we spoke with said the same thing, “that old Hess station.” Better Block gave them an opportunity to envision something different.

Beginning in June, Working Cities participated with dozens of volunteers to study the block and work with TDI and Team Better Block to create a plan that reflects the neighborhood and the needs expressed by residents. Once the plan was finalized, teams went into action to gain supplies and actually build out the design. On August 26 they accomplished that goal and turned that block into a bustling neighborhood filled with families, music, and a whole new feeling of community.

Some of the volunteers who made Better Block possible.

We don’t plan to stop there either. Working Cities Pittsfield will work with Mass Development, and the City of Pittsfield to take some of what we learned and continue to improve the Tyler Street corridor.

If you’d like to be a part of it, contact us today!

August 23 Working Cities Wedensday

Did you miss the last Working Cities Wednesday? No problem. Here are some actions you can join in our community.

Sit & Share a Berkshire Story
Carolyn Valli cvalli@berkshirehabitat.org 413-442-3181

Discussion:
• Shared space for art and oral history
• Connect elementary school children with community artists and seniors
• Create a multigenerational project surrounding oral history of the      Berkshires and painted chairs that can be placed in public areas.

Three things to do before next meeting:
• Connect with RSVP
• Reach out to Pittsfield Cultural Council
• Reach out to schools

Resources needed:
• Artists interested in working with children
• Paint and prep space
• Seniors willing to share stories of their experience in the Berkshires

Voter Registration at Berkshire Jail
Leslie Sears leslie@actiontogetherma.com 617-823-2961

Discussion:
• Need to determine what, if anything, is in place for voter registration and participation
• What past efforts have been made to facilitate this goal?

Three things to do before next meeting:
• Contact Pittsfield Board of Elections
• Reach out to jail employees
• Learn more about voter registration process

Crossing Safety at the Corner of Robbins and Linden Streets
Barbara Bizzi b21b44@hotmail.com 413-442-0649

Discussion:
• Can signs around the park be added?
• City councilors input on best practices for reducing speed in high traffic neighborhoods
• Should the speed limit be lowered?

Meet the Candidates Mixer
Alisa Costa acosta@berkshirehabitat.org 413-442-0003

Discussion:
• How to make the experience of interacting with officials and candidates more culturally competent.
• Explore how best to engage people in the small discussions.
• What’s the best format?

Three things to do before the next meeting:
• Get voter registration and early voter forms
• Contact candidates
• Create new flyer with candidate copies

Resources needed:
• Candidate contact info
• Voting forms
• Focus group