Historic Springside House has a future


Photo Gallery: Pittsfield Historic Preservation Projects

PITTSFIELD -- The historic Springside House was found to be in relatively good condition during the early phases of a reuse feasibility study, the Historical Commission was informed Monday.

Providing information on the ongoing study, Joseph Durwin, president of the Friends of Springside Park group, said he asked an architect with CME Architecture of Woodstock, Conn., which has been hired to oversee the feasibility study, about the condition of the rambling woodframe house in Springside Park. The initial impression, Durwin said, was that "from their perspective, it was in really good condition compared to some others they have worked with."

More details are expected during a public input session the consultants will moderate on next Monday at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

The $60,000 grant and city-funded study, which will include significant opportunity for public comment, is expected to conclude with a report in June. The city could then begin planning and seeking funding for reuse of the city-owned landmark.

Durwin said his nonprofit group and the Hebert Arboretum group, Springside Greenhouse group and the Morningside Initiative, which have formed a Springside Conservancy Coalition, are preparing written comments on reuse options. The groups will meet on Saturday to finalize those comments, Durwin said.

The recommended reuse guidelines, he said, are that any proposals "acknowledge the building's historical character and unique location within Pittsfield's largest [comprising 250 acres] destination natural park"; be compatible "with existing patterns of activity in the park," and consistent with the Springside Park Master Plan, which is being updated for the first time in decades; and "consider the versatility of the existing structure," and where possible provide for mixed- or multi-uses that provide community benefits and long-range financial sustainability.

At least some members of the commission are expected to attend Monday's public session.

The vacant house is the main structure in the park off North Street and is registered as a historic building. The mansion was given to the city and was headquarters for the Pittsfield parks department from the 1940s until 2007.

The public also can email comments and ideas on the reuse of Springside House to springsidehouse@pittsfieldch.com, or call city Parks and Open Space Manager James McGrath, at 413-499-9344.

To reach Jim Therrien:
or (413) 496-6247
On Twitter: @BE_therrien


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