PITTSFIELD -- State Rep. Benjamin B. Downing was only 7 when Epworth Arms was dedicated.
And on Monday, the Pittsfield Democrat was among a group of state and local officials on hand to mark the 25th anniversary of the housing complex for senior citizens.
He reminded attendees of the ceremony that the building wouldn't have been constructed without two people who have since died -- former U.S. Rep. Silvio O. Conte and the Rev Willard H. Durant.
"The fact that this still stands today, and looks as beautiful as it does, reflects well on both of them and the work that they did," Downing said at a ceremony.
Conte, a Pittsfield Republican, died in 1991; Durant died last June.
Downing and Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi both spoke on Monday the West Street complex, a 39-unit apartment complex for older residents, which was officially dedicated on Oct. 28, 1989.
When the complex was built, Conte was credited by other officials for having lobbied for the federal funding to build the facility. Epworth Arms was one of four similar federally funded projects in the Berkshires that were built around the same time, said Elton Ogden, the president of Berkshire Housing Development Corp. and Berkshire Housing Services Inc.
Durant headed the Christian Center, which sponsored the project, and still owns the complex through the nonprofit Christian Center Housing Corp. Christian Center board member Peter J. Lafayette said Durant helped set up the Christian Center Housing Corp. because the federal government required a nonprofit to run the $1.9 million project.
Epworth Arms' name comes from the Epworth League of the Methodist Church, which established the Christian Center as a mission in 1892. The Epworth Mission was renamed the Christian Center in 1941.
Durant's daughter, Dawn Durant-Powell, and her husband, Dennis, accepted an award of appreciation on her father's behalf.
"Thank you very much for honoring my dad," Durant-Powell said. "It was his privilege to be a citizen of Pittsfield."
Berkshire Housing Services Inc., and Epworth Arms volunteer Margaret Borden also received awards of appreciation from the Christian Center Housing Corp.
Bianchi said Epworth Arms has been an asset to the city for the last 25 years.
"It's wonderful to be here and have Epworth Arms be a part of our community," he said.