Working Cities flipped the conversation for its first ever Candidate Mixer. Instead of asking candidates to offer speeches and policy ideas, residents challenged them to listen first. Candidates sat at tables while residents circulated and exchanges their thoughts, concerns, and ideas.
Every person running for Pittsfield City Council attended, plus candidates for City Clerk and School Committee. At the end of the evening, candidates were charged with reporting back to the group what they heard.
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.
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.