Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito celebrates the awarding of grants from the state's small bridge program, with officials from the town of Blandford, above, and the town of Washington, right, in Lenox on Thursday with District 1 Highway Director Francisca Heming, far right.
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito with Mayor Linda Tyer.
Polito tours North Street with city officials and business leaders.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito toured the downtown Thursday afternoon before announcing grant funding for two southwestern Massachusetts bridges.
Polito had spent the morning signing a Community Compact agreement with Lanesborough and Windsor. She later joined Mayor Linda Tyer for a brief private meeting at City Hall. She left the offices and proceeded to the Onota Building with the mayor, City Council President Peter Marchetti 1Berkshire CEO Jonathan Butler, Downtown Pittsfield Inc. President Jesse Cook-Dubin, and Alfred "A.J" Enchill Jr. from state Sen. Adam Hinds' office.
At the Onota building, she met with Louis Allegrone, of Allegrone Construction, who recently renovated the entire building. Allegrone explained the federal and state support that helped create the market-rate housing units in the historic building.
Polito then went to the Beacon Cinema, yet another historic building that has benefited from state assistance in redevelopment. Polito met with staff there to hear about the theater, which had been a key aspect of the North Street redevelopment plans.
Tyer then led Polito to Hotel on North, showing off yet another historic building that has been completely renovated and fitting with the overall vision of redevelopment of North Street. The tour showed of the multi-year efforts to revitalize North Street and the city is now looking toward Tyler Street to do a similar project there. The concept is to focus on the redevelopment of anchor sites along the road as triggers for redevelopment.
Polito then moved her way south to Lenox. There she met with municipal leaders from Blandford and Washington, and the state Department of Transportation to announce the first two awards through the small bridge program.
The newly developed small bridge program, funded with $50 million, is eyed to help towns fix up bridges that are less than 20 feet long. Those small bridges are too short to receive federal assistance for repairs.
A total of $750,000 was awarded to the two towns Thursday. Washington received $250,000 for a bridge on Middlefield Road and Blandford received $500,000 for bridges on Blandford Road and Gore Road.
"We are committed to working closely with cities and towns throughout the commonwealth to achieve our shared transportation goals," Polito said. "This financial support will allow these two municipalities to proceed with construction of infrastructure which is a necessary part of the fabric of people's everyday lives, taking community members to homes, jobs, retail areas, schools and other destinations."
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