The Eagle editorial on Wednesday, March 20, "Developers shouldn’t take Pittsfield lightly," is a personal affront and disrespect to a hard-working local businessman. A reply is necessary.
First, I have known Jim Scalise for close to 20 years and have worked with him over this period on numerous projects, both residential and commercial, that have resulted in good development and increased tax dollars for the city of Pittsfield. Jim Scalise is a locally educated, hard working, ethical and a truly qualified and experienced engineer. He is well-prepared and always endeavors to provide complete information, and act as a resource, when he presents any project to a municipal board or is working with municipal staff.
The Eagle’s editorial leaves a reader to believe Mr. Scalise misrepresented or failed to adequately inform the City Council when he appeared, as is the right of any property owner, seeking a zoning change for his property on Dalton Avenue in Coltsville. I have never known Jim Scalise to make such a distorted presentation, and I certainly do not believe he did so in this instance.
Secondly, there is a lot of foolishness going on at this time in this city as to what is a historical and what is not an historical building. When did a brick warehouse, simply because it is 75-plus years old, become historically significant? Quite frankly, this building is not the old "Berkshire Athenaeum" in Park Square, nor is it the Rice Silk Mill factory on Burbank Street, both of which have been adaptively restored and reused for government use or as a private affordable housing development. Mr. Scalise’s building, while not an eyesore, certainly does nothing in the way for preserving the historical past of Berkshire County or Pittsfield (unless of course it should house the Crane paper museum; but if that were the case, why would Crane disposed of it as an obsolete and unnecessary building).
If a building can be reused and it is economical, efforts should be made to reutilize a structure, but if it holds up, delays or prevents appropriate development, then all government is doing is getting in the way, when they should be assisting private individuals, who want to invest their private capital in a development project, both for their benefit and the benefit of the local community. The Berkshire Eagle should be supporting developers’ efforts in this community, not insulting them.
THOMAS J. HAMEL
The writer practices with Martin, Oliveira & Hamel.