City panel divided over Shaker grant

City panel divided over Shaker grant

There are 59 comments on the Berkshire Eagle story from May 2, 2010, titled City panel divided over Shaker grant. In it, Berkshire Eagle reports that:

A City Council subcommittee has given mixed reviews to Hancock Shaker Village receiving a $250,000 city grant for a major restoration project that proponents said would stimulate the local economy.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Berkshire Eagle.

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Ellen Spear

Mechanicville, NY

#1 May 3, 2010
A majority of the Community Development Committee voted in favor of this proposal.

HSV is proposing to bring a full satellite campus of UMASS Amherst to Pittsfield. In addition to the jobs this creates, it will make Pittsfield one of the important centers of historic preservation education in the nation - through our establishment of the Institute for Historic Resource Studies.

The Eagle neglected to quote any of the numerous speakers who explained the importance of the program - including one of the applicants who had to stop her studies at UMASS because she couldn't afford to drive to Amherst every day.

Part of Pittsfield's importance is the historic character of its neighborhoods. The students in this program will be assisting neighborhood groups with restoration projects and will be working directly with the city on an inventory of historic properties which will leverage money for the city in the future.

In addition, the City's investment will leverage $400,000 in state investment and $150,000 in federal investment. The students themselves will spend $90,000 each year in room and board in Pittsfield - providing an important boost to local businesses and tax revenue for the city.

We are hopeful that the City Council will see the wisdom of this kind of investment - to bring jobs and a full satellite campus of UMASS to Pittsfield.
At it again

Greenfield, MA

#2 May 3, 2010
Why is this even being considered????? It's not Pittsfield Shaker Village! It's Hancock. Get the funds from the town of Hancock not Pittsfield. This is more of Jimmys ridiculous spending of that money. How many jobs have been created by what has been spent so far?????
Bobby Knows

Cropseyville, NY

#4 May 3, 2010
Ellen Spear wrote:
A majority of the Community Development Committee voted in favor of this proposal.
HSV is proposing to bring a full satellite campus of UMASS Amherst to Pittsfield. In addition to the jobs this creates, it will make Pittsfield one of the important centers of historic preservation education in the nation - through our establishment of the Institute for Historic Resource Studies.
The Eagle neglected to quote any of the numerous speakers who explained the importance of the program - including one of the applicants who had to stop her studies at UMASS because she couldn't afford to drive to Amherst every day.
Part of Pittsfield's importance is the historic character of its neighborhoods. The students in this program will be assisting neighborhood groups with restoration projects and will be working directly with the city on an inventory of historic properties which will leverage money for the city in the future.
In addition, the City's investment will leverage $400,000 in state investment and $150,000 in federal investment. The students themselves will spend $90,000 each year in room and board in Pittsfield - providing an important boost to local businesses and tax revenue for the city.
We are hopeful that the City Council will see the wisdom of this kind of investment - to bring jobs and a full satellite campus of UMASS to Pittsfield.
Each studet will spend 90 K per year on room and board.Please let us know what planet you are from I would enjoy making a trip there some time in the future.I know plenty of students but I don't know to many that spend 90 K per year on room and board. Next argument please.
Ellen Spear

Pittsfield, MA

#5 May 3, 2010
Bobby Knows wrote:
<quoted text> Each studet will spend 90 K per year on room and board.Please let us know what planet you are from I would enjoy making a trip there some time in the future.I know plenty of students but I don't know to many that spend 90 K per year on room and board. Next argument please.
In aggregate the students will spend $90,000 in room and board. I'm happy to answer your queries with facts, but let's please keep it civil and professional.
Ellen Spear

Pittsfield, MA

#6 May 3, 2010
At it again wrote:
Why is this even being considered????? It's not Pittsfield Shaker Village! It's Hancock. Get the funds from the town of Hancock not Pittsfield. This is more of Jimmys ridiculous spending of that money. How many jobs have been created by what has been spent so far?????
Fully 43% of HSV is indeed in Pittsfield.
Senior

Adams, MA

#7 May 3, 2010
Ellen Spear wrote:
<quoted text>
In aggregate the students will spend $90,000 in room and board. I'm happy to answer your queries with facts, but let's please keep it civil and professional.
Yes, keep it civil, also keep it from being political favors. It is a museum,all these years been running on its on with donations and gate fees. Keep it that way! Pittsfield cannot fix my street, and you need $250K, I have a historical house, could I have some of that funding, I think not.
Spider

Bolton Landing, NY

#8 May 3, 2010
Ellen Spear wrote:
<quoted text>
Fully 43% of HSV is indeed in Pittsfield.
And how much is Hancock contributing to this venture?

Since: Jan 09

Queensbury, NY

#9 May 3, 2010
Ellen Spear wrote:
<quoted text>
Fully 43% of HSV is indeed in Pittsfield.
Being a non-profit organization, how much does fully 43% of HANCOCK Shaker Village contribute to the tax base in Pittsfield? For a venture that is going to create 6 jobs $250,000 is a lot to ask. This program will probably serve aroung 6 people too, and will not bring significant investment form UMass here. Good try though, you have to advocate for what you like. Too bad all the people asking for all this money were advocates for ruberto in the last election. I'm sure that's fully coincidental.
sam n eric

Pittsfield, MA

#10 May 3, 2010
Spider wrote:
<quoted text>
And how much is Hancock contributing to this venture?
is that the sound of crickets?
Skeptical Onlooker

South Hadley, MA

#11 May 3, 2010
Ellen Spear wrote:
<quoted text>
In aggregate the students will spend $90,000 in room and board. I'm happy to answer your queries with facts, but let's please keep it civil and professional.
Will the students be required to live and food shop and eat in Pittsfield so that Pittsfield sees all $90k per year? I suspect Richmond and Hancock will benefit a lot more than Pittsfield will from this grant. Though the idea is a good one, I am not sure it is a good use of this money/fund. Good luck in getting this done, I do believe it had merit.
great investment

Clifton Park, NY

#12 May 3, 2010
Looks like a lot of people here have no vision beyond their backyard. If UMass grad school comes into Pittsfield, this will attract more customers for the local businesses (variety stores, car repairs, restaurants, rentals, etc). Professors who teach and grad students have families and friends who come to visit - think about that. Next thing you know, Pittsfield may become a venue for conferences, architecture summer schools, trainings and workshops. If state grad school establishes itself in Pittsfield, there will be state and federal investment in the city. How can this be bad for the area?! This is a wise investment and it will pay back!
Spider

Bolton Landing, NY

#14 May 3, 2010
Spider wrote:
<quoted text>
And how much is Hancock contributing to this venture?
Hello, Ms. Spear:
You were so quick to answer the other questions.....what about mine?

Again, how much money is Hancock throwing into the pot, since they own more than 50% of HSV?
Oh Yea

Adams, MA

#15 May 3, 2010
great investment wrote:
Looks like a lot of people here have no vision beyond their backyard. If UMass grad school comes into Pittsfield, this will attract more customers for the local businesses (variety stores, car repairs, restaurants, rentals, etc). Professors who teach and grad students have families and friends who come to visit - think about that. Next thing you know, Pittsfield may become a venue for conferences, architecture summer schools, trainings and workshops. If state grad school establishes itself in Pittsfield, there will be state and federal investment in the city. How can this be bad for the area?! This is a wise investment and it will pay back!
Look back over the last ten years of Vision for Pittsfield, were a large amount of money was given to businesses, etc. with promises of great hiring of personnel and adding to tax base,NOT. And you wonder why people are skeptical.
Ellen Spear

Pittsfield, MA

#16 May 3, 2010
Senior wrote:
<quoted text>
Yes, keep it civil, also keep it from being political favors. It is a museum,all these years been running on its on with donations and gate fees. Keep it that way! Pittsfield cannot fix my street, and you need $250K, I have a historical house, could I have some of that funding, I think not.
I hope that our program could help you with your historic house. We have promised that we will help the city inventory historic homes such as yours which will help the city leverage money that could help. Also, we are committed to working with neighborhoods to find ways we can work on historic house projects at no charge. Both of these will improve the historic character of our neighborhoods. The funding stream from which we are requesting funds can't be used to fix your home - the City Council's rules - so we aren't competing with your home needs.
Ellen Spear

Pittsfield, MA

#17 May 3, 2010
JIMMY G PITTSFIELD MA wrote:
<quoted text>Being a non-profit organization, how much does fully 43% of HANCOCK Shaker Village contribute to the tax base in Pittsfield? For a venture that is going to create 6 jobs $250,000 is a lot to ask. This program will probably serve aroung 6 people too, and will not bring significant investment form UMass here. Good try though, you have to advocate for what you like. Too bad all the people asking for all this money were advocates for ruberto in the last election. I'm sure that's fully coincidental.
UMASS has already committed over $100,000 per year toward this program. The program will serve many more than 6 people. In addition to the students (more than 6!) we will be completing at least 250 historic house inventories for the city which will leverage further funds to help neighborhoods. We are also committed to housing and feeding our students in Pittsfield which will bring at least $90,000 per year to Pittsfield businesses. Plus we are committed to working with neighbhroood groups on their historic building projects. that's a lot of economic development leverage in addition to the jobs created.
Ellen Spear

Pittsfield, MA

#18 May 3, 2010
Skeptical Onlooker wrote:
<quoted text>
Will the students be required to live and food shop and eat in Pittsfield so that Pittsfield sees all $90k per year? I suspect Richmond and Hancock will benefit a lot more than Pittsfield will from this grant. Though the idea is a good one, I am not sure it is a good use of this money/fund. Good luck in getting this done, I do believe it had merit.
We have committed to the city that we will house the students in Pittsfield hotels and will use food service vendors based in Pittsfield.
Ellen Spear

Pittsfield, MA

#19 May 3, 2010
Spider wrote:
<quoted text>
Hello, Ms. Spear:
You were so quick to answer the other questions.....what about mine?
Again, how much money is Hancock throwing into the pot, since they own more than 50% of HSV?
Hancock does not "own" HSV - it is a private not-for-profit organization. They do not have the resources, given their 700 residents to invest in this, and thus they will not reap the benefits of the program that we have promised to Pittsfield in the form of business for hotels and food service, and assistance at no charge with preservation projects. We are very excited at the prospect of partnering with the city to make Pittsfield a national center for historic preservation education. That will be, starting next year, a very important economic driver for the city.
Idontlivethere

Northampton, MA

#20 May 3, 2010
How many jobs has the Beacon created? Aside from, maybe, the projectionist can you really call serving up popcorn and soda a solid longterm job? And isn't the Beacon for profit? Pittsfield gave 400k to the guy who owns the movie theatre and loaned him the other 600k, according to this article. Surely HSF is as worthwhile. And getting UMASS's foot in the door out here can't hurt either.
Ellen Spear

Pittsfield, MA

#21 May 3, 2010
I hope that those of you who feel moved to comment will consider signing your names and being publicly responsible for your comments. I am delighted to continue to answer questions about this important program. It would be good to know who I am actually talking to.
Spider

Bolton Landing, NY

#22 May 3, 2010
Ellen Spear wrote:
I hope that those of you who feel moved to comment will consider signing your names and being publicly responsible for your comments. I am delighted to continue to answer questions about this important program. It would be good to know who I am actually talking to.
Strange you don't mind answering the other questions from people who did not give their names. Why is that!

I believe the answer to my question must be that Hancock is giving NOTHING!

Your reasons in the above posts are nothing more than "fluff"...no substance. I commend Kevin Sherman and Joe Nichols for voting against this and I hope the other councilors will do the same.

Pittsfield is not your rich uncle. We have some very serious financial problems facing us. The high school situation is just one (and will be a very costly one).

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