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Our Opinion

Our Opinion: From Greylock Glen in Adams to Site 9 in Pittsfield, Berkshire development worth betting on

We spend a good amount of ink on this page critiquing state and federal leaders for overlooking our neck of the woods. And rightly so, we believe. Berkshire County’s scrappy ex-industrial cities and small rural towns are just the sort of communities who feel unseen and underrepresented by business as usual on Beacon and Capitol hills.

That makes it all the more important to note when that trend is bucked and the potential we see every day in our fair county is matched with serious public investment. With that in mind, it’s notable that more than half of the front page in Thursday’s Eagle was dedicated to stories tracking the progress of breakthrough development initiatives — and the support that made them possible.

In Pittsfield, Site 9 — the largest building lot in the 52-acre William Stanley Business Park — will go from being a blighted symbol of industrial decay to a fertile site for business activity and growth. That’s thanks in large part to a $3 million state grant toward redeveloping the 16.5-acre parcel, which was announced Wednesday in Pittsfield by city and state leaders alike, including Gov. Charlie Baker and MassDevelopment CEO Daniel Rivera. Meanwhile, another funding announcement was taking place in Adams, where U.S. Rep. Richard Neal visited Town Hall to announce a $4 million federal infusion into the long-nurtured Greylock Glen Outdoor Center project.

These events were held in different municipalities, featured officials from differing levels of government and celebrated considerably different projects. The throughline running through both is the recognition that our region, while uniquely challenged, is brimming with great potential worthy of investment. That is only possible because of the local leaders and community stakeholders who have had skin in the game for these projects long before they caught the eye of those pulling the purse strings in Boston and D.C. The Greylock Glen project has been a years-long labor of love, buoyed by determined leaders like Adams Town Manager Jay Green, veteran town official Donna Cesan and state Rep. John Barrett III. With their vision, the project aims to spur the region’s economy by harnessing — and preserving — our sublime landscape. In Pittsfield, Mayor Linda Tyer’s administration and community development leaders have put in years of legwork to prime the city’s pump for a new era of growth. That appears to be paying off, from Site 9 to the Berkshire Innovation Center to Interprint, the latter of which recently announced a $28 million expansion aided by targeted city and state tax breaks.

Would we like to see more official attention paid to oft-overlooked communities like ours? Yes. Would it be nice to see proportional investment in our region’s public transit systems to what’s pumped into the MBTA? Of course. Still, credit where it is due — to the out-of-county officials who see these projects of hopeful potential as worthy of investment, and the tireless local advocates who have worked so hard to seed that potential. Site 9 is a blank canvas that will hopefully attract new business, and the Greylock Glen Outdoor Center is not yet built. Both are examples of leaders within and out of Berkshire County betting on our communities’ grit, growth and reinvigoration — and we love to see that.

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