PITTSFIELD, Mass. -- Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick visited the Berkshires Tuesday to announce a series of infrastructure, cultural and open space investments that will expand growth and opportunity across the area.
During an event at the Norman Rockwell Museum Tuesday morning, he announced a three-fold increase, from $5 million to $15 million, in funding to further the development of cultural facilities throughout the state.
The governor also spoke before the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce this afternoon, where he announced capital funding to finish improvements to the First Street Common in downtown Pittsfield and a MassWorks award for the next phase of the Pittsfield Downtown Streetscape Master Plan that will revitalize the downtown area.
"Growth requires investment, and investing in our education infrastructure and creating more green space will bring opportunity to the residents of the Berkshires," said Governor Patrick. "If we want to expand opportunity in our Commonwealth, this is what government must do and do well."
The announcement of $1.7 million to complete improvements to First Street Common in Pittsfield will improve the park's landscaping, lighting and fencing, and will help construct several new items including a new performance pavilion, a spray ground and a multi-purpose court. The First Street Common is the only large, accessible public open space that serves the Morningside neighborhood of Pittsfield, and the completion of this project will help create a stronger connection between the downtown community and the surrounding neighborhoods.
The governor also announced a $2 million MassWorks grant for Phase 3 of the Streetscape Improvement Project, which began in 2005 and is serving as a catalyst for the redevelopment of the City's downtown area. This MassWorks grant complements $13 million in additional state, local and federal dollars spent in the area for revitalization purposes. In 2011, Pittsfield received a $3.6 million MassWorks grant for improvements and repair to the McKay Street Garage in downtown Pittsfield.