Photo Gallery | Pittsfield's Streetscape Project

PITTSFIELD -- Preparations are underway for a $3 million streetscape and pedestrian plaza improvement project on North Street.

The contractor this week has begun preliminary work leading up to the reconstruction of North Street and its sidewalks between Madison Avenue and just before Tyler Street. J.H. Maxymillian Inc. of Pittsfield has been hired to do the $2.13 million project funded by a MassWorks grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.

At the same time, Maxymillian will spend $880,000 in city capital funds to refurbish and upgrade Sottile Park at the corner of Eagle and North streets and Persip Park across the way at Columbus Avenue and North Street.

Pittsfield Community Development Director Douglas Clark expects both projects to kick into high gear next week, with the majority of the construction completed before winter.

The latest road work on North Street is the third phase of an overall downtown streetscape program the city began several years ago. In phases 1 and 2, South Street from East/ West Housatonic Street to Park Square was upgraded with new sidewalks, period lighting and safer crosswalks.

Workers tear up the road on North Street on Wednesday for a continuation of the city of Pittsfield’s streetscape project.
Workers tear up the road on North Street on Wednesday for a continuation of the city of Pittsfield’s streetscape project. (Stephanie Zollshan / Berkshire Eagle Staff / photos.berkshireeagle.com)

Similar work was done on North Street from Park Square to Columbus Avenue and Eagle Street. The next phase, which awaits funding, is expected to improve North Street from Columbus and Eagle to Madison Avenue.

The quarter-mile stretch of North Street being reconstructed in the current phase involves roadway and sidewalk excavation, in part, due to the slope of the terrain, Clark said.

"As you go toward [Berkshire Medical Center], it's a steeper drop compared to the rest of North Street so there's a lot of fine tuning of the grade to make sure the crosswalks and sidewalks are ADA compliant," he said, referring to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The Sottile Park improvements include an upgrade of the wooden trellis, replace/restore the brick work, new lighting and handicap accessibility. The Persip Park makeover involves making the plaza more inviting to pedestrians with the installation of a trellis, an automated information kiosk and more landscaping.

"We'll have large plantings and open it up to more green space," Clark said.

City officials noted two-way traffic and accessibility to stores affected by the construction will be maintained at all times to minimize impact on retailers and motorists.

"While in the short term the streetscape construction does take patience from downtown area businesses, visitors and residents, in the long term, the benefits of the project will be exponential," said Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi. "Streetscape [work] is crucial for the beautification of the downtown district."

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.