Letter: Bring BCC downtown
To the editor:
There are more than 2,000 students and staff that frequent Berkshire Community College's West Street campus in Pittsfield. Imagine what downtown Pittsfield would look like with 2,000 more people on the street? Think about what it would it mean for our local businesses, for our downtown neighborhoods, and for the students and staff who have to travel outside their community to get to a community college. Bringing BCC (back) downtown is the best community development plan our city can implement.
A downtown BCC is accessible: There is only one infrequent bus route to BCC's West Street campus and it doesn't run the length of the school's class schedule. With 96 percent of their students coming from within the county, a central BCC, within walking distance of the intermodal center, and thousands of affordable housing instantly becomes accessible. Access to a car should not be a requirement for access to education.
A downtown BCC is good for business: Downtown businesses are the lifeblood of our city, not because they are nostalgic or hip, but because they inarguably provide the most revenue back to our city. The Greystone building (Dottie's coffee shop), provides 14 times the tax revenue per acre as the Allendale shopping plaza. Additionally, the majority of our downtown real estate and businesses are locally owned (not so for Berkshire Crossing). Two thousand people eating lunch, shopping and working downtown is a huge economic win for the city.
A downtown BCC is good for the neighborhood: It's an outrage that the two neighborhoods abutting our downtown, Morningside and the West Side, were neglected by the city and state for decades. Mayor Tyer's administration, to her credit, has led a push to change this. Bringing BCC downtown would be a giant leap in the right direction for neighborhood improvement. By clustering jobs and education in our central business district, we can continue to breathe new life into our oldest neighborhoods.
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