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!

June Working Cities Wednesday Celebration and Updates

Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate and network with us on June 28 at Durant Park. Below are the projects discussed and who to contact if you would like to join these ideas.

YOUTH PROGRAMMING
Lead – Elisa Fuller/Karen Vogel (kvogel@berkshireunitedway.org)

Summary of discussion:

  • Need for youth programs focused on 11-14 year olds
  • Building leadership and career skills
  • Barriers such as finances, access, or lack of knowledge of current resources

Three steps before next meeting:

  • Berkshire United Way will share a current asset map of youth programs
  • Check in with Family Resource Center to create a collective
  • Plan to bring youth groups together

Resources needed:

  • Database system/ ways to connect groups
  • One person at every organization to be a connector for neighborhood

TRAUMA INFORMED BERKSHIRES
Lead – Chris Haley  413-398-2014 chris.haley@massmail.state.ma.us

Summary of discussion:

  • What is a trauma informed community?
  • ACES- Adverse Childhood Experiences

Three steps before next meeting:

  • Get the word out about Aug 15 event at the Colonial
  • Get buy-in from top officials such as Mayor’s office
  • Circulate community education flyers

Resources needed:

  • People – to volunteer, to show up etc.
  • A connection to the corrections community

NOURISH PITTSFIELD
Lead – Zach Durso – zacharid@gmail.com

Summary of discussion:

  • Need to connect food pantry visitors with other services they may not be aware of
  • Community Connector

Three steps before next meeting:

  • Visit 3 pantries
  • Share information at community events

Resources needed:

  • Money
  • Volunteers

FIXING BASEBALL FIELDS
Lead – Chuck Fuller  413-358-7513 HockeyWMHL@gmail.com

Summary of discussion:

  • Fields across county are in disrepair creating conflict between adult and youth leagues – not enough fields.
  • Leagues compromise
  • Make Berkshire Adult League official

Three steps before next meeting:

  • Bring up at City Council meeting
  • Get more people involved
  • Circulate community education flyers

Resources needed:

  • The community

HOMELESSNESS/HOUSING
Lead – Jay Sachetti  413-448-5353 x 111 jaysachetti@servicenet.org

Summary of discussion:

  • Rehab vacant property cost prohibitive
  • How do people get services/where are they?
  • Individuals who are pregnant/homeless

Three steps before next meeting:

  • Servicenet will meet with the Christian Center
  • Deliver list of services available in Pittsfield to Christian Center
  • Safety/Community Watch meeting w/Sharon

Resources needed:

  • Mental health/ brain injury/ physical disability
  • Access to services

The next Working Cities Wednesday will be held on Wednesday, July 26 at 5:30 pm at the Berkshire Dream Center, 475 Tyler Street.

Sharon adds a card to the Working Cities Marketplace.
children playing
Jetta and Zachery play on the playground.
Residents discuss homelessness and housing in Pittsfield.
Elisa and Paul look up for a photo while discussing youth programs.