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Berkshire Family YMCA Announces Groundbreaking Ceremony with Keynote Speaker Congressman Richard Neal

PITTSFIELD: Berkshire Family YMCA will hold a groundbreaking ceremony on November 10 at 1:00 PM to celebrate the start of a major improvement and renovation program at its Pittsfield Branch located at 292 North St. The program will include keynote speaker, Congressman Richard E Neal, City of Pittsfield Mayor Linda M Tyer, and others invested in the success of the downtown anchor. Tours of the facility will also be provided.

Plans for the renovation and restoration project have been underway since 2017. The project will take 15-18 months to complete at the cost of $12.4 million. Allegrone Companies is the project's general contractor. Once complete, the Y's Pittsfield branch will be home to a new child care wing, an indoor walking/running track, a new basketball court, and improved energy efficiency. The project will restore and enhance the historical elements of the original 1909 building. In addition, the project will provide 200 quality local jobs in the trades during construction and add four child care and three human service staff positions upon completion. Berkshire Family YMCA's fundraising campaign will continue over the next two years and seeks to raise an additional $4 million in support.

Celebrating its 135th year in the community, Berkshire Family YMCA is no stranger to the needs of the 131,000+ residents of Berkshire County and Southern Vermont and the flexibility and perseverance it requires to provide the right programs and services to support those needs from cradle to cane. Started as a Bible study group, then chartered as a YMCA in 1886, Berkshire Family YMCA now hosts over 4,200 members county-wide with over 105,000 facility visits annually, 45% of visits at its Pittsfield location. The Y serves over 10,000 community members for youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility activities through its three year-round facilities in Pittsfield, Northern Berkshire, and Bennington, Vermont, along with 12 program sites and five child care sites. The Y jumped in throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, firmly planted both feet to support their most vulnerable neighbors and essential workers. Yet, the Y wants to do more. However, the limitations of its Pittsfield location, which has experienced heavy use since the original 1909 building and its 1980s expansion, need to be modernized to 21st century standards to meet the community needs far into the future. Since 2017, strategic renovation and restoration plans have been in development. Funding for the $12.4 million project is coming from a variety of sources. Secured funding includes a $1 million child care facility grant from EEOST, several significant foundation grants (Alden Trust, Feigenbaum Foundation, the Fitzpatrick Trust, Berkshire Bank Foundation), CPA funding from the City of Pittsfield, and MA Historic Tax Credits from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In addition, lending has been secured from MassDevelopment, including Lee Bank, Adams Community Bank and Greylock Federal Credit Union participating in the loan, and The Life Initiative to provide a leverage loan to a New Markets Tax Credit transaction with the Community Reinvestment Fund, USA (CRF) as the NMTC allocatee and US Bank as the investor. CRF and US Bank will provide $3.2 million in equity to the project.

“The Y has been an integral part of Pittsfield’s downtown community for over a century and I’m proud to have played a part in securing the funds needed to modernize the facility so it can be enjoyed for generations to come,” said Congressman Richard E. Neal. “Thanks to the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC), a federal tax provision that I have championed as Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means, this project was able to get off the ground. Across the country, the NMTC program has led to financing of more than 6,000 projects and over one million jobs – including the restoration of Pittsfield’s Colonial Theatre. I am grateful for the invitation to be here today as we celebrate the revitalization of another one of Pittsfield’s architectural gems.”

Over the next two years, a community fundraising and grant procurement campaign will close the $4 million gap bringing the project to completion. Through this project, the Y is committed to downtown Pittsfield's revitalization and the city's architectural landscape and historical preservation by providing a key anchor of activity seven days a week throughout the year, positioning the Y to serve more people effectively and efficiently far into the future.

The child care wing renovation will significantly increase the quality and size of the Y's nationally accredited and MA EEC licensed child development program. It will add 25 available slots, including 16 new slots for infants and toddlers. Features include a new multi-purpose room, a STEAM (Science, Technology, Arts and Math) room, a staff break room, plus an open play space to develop gross motor skills. In addition, children will enjoy high-quality, durable materials and a bright, inspiring theme throughout. In addition, this improvement will increase secured space for the vital family reunification program.

The renovation of the recreational facility includes adding a new basketball court and unique (in Berkshire County) indoor walking/running track. The new regulation basketball court will support the Y's thriving basketball program. The court will also provide space for group exercise classes, pickleball, programs for older adults, and youth programs. Youth programs cultivate the values, skills, and relationships that lead to positive behaviors, better health, and educational achievement.

The indoor walking/running track will be available for year-round use above the basketball court and will offer flat, smooth-surfaced exercise options in a monitored, climate-controlled setting. The Y will be the only facility in central Berkshire County with an indoor walking/running track, encouraging movement year-round.

The structural and façade improvements will bring vibrancy to North Street, including energy-efficient glass replacing drafty bricked-up windows to let in natural daylight and the repointing of failing mortar joints at the North and Melville Streets façades. In addition, LED lighting and an energy-efficient heating and cooling system will conserve energy. Improvements throughout the renovated spaces will allow for handicap accessibility and full ADA compliance.

Project partners include Hill Engineers, Studio MLA, Financial Development Agency, Skanska, Mike MacDonald Law, and Epsilon Associates, Inc. The project's general contractor, Allegrone Companies, expects to complete the renovation and restoration within 18 months with limited disruption to the Y's members, families, residents, and visitors. Work will begin in the original 1909 historical side of the building as Phase 1. In addition, children in the Y's child care program relocated to off-site locations. As a result, the Y will be building a waiting list for new child care families, especially in the infant and toddler rooms, where there is a need in the community. Ongoing construction updates will be available at the Welcome Center. Project information is available at bfymca.org/capitalcampaign.

Due to the growing needs in the community, the Y recently reduced membership rates at its three locations. The Y encourages new members to join through the rest of 2021 to take advantage of waived join fees. The Pittsfield location will be open throughout construction with access to its amenities.

About Berkshire Family YMCA: \Berkshire Family YMCA consists of three branches. The Pittsfield branch is located at 292 North St. in Pittsfield. The Northern Berkshire branch is located at 22 Brickyard Court in North Adams. The Bennington Recreation Center branch is located at 655 Gage St in Bennington Vermont. The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,687 Ys engage 21 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background – to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver, lasting personal and social change.




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