Pittsfield Mayor Tyer, 'an optimistic champion,' announces bid for 2nd term

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PITTSFIELD — Mayor Linda Tyer rose to power four years ago under a united vision, said her campaign manager, Tom Sakshaug, and "we're not done yet."

Pittsfield's first four-year mayor highlighted strides in economic development, financial planning and the fight against blight as she announced her bid for a second term on Thursday. She did so while standing inside Framework, a chic coworking space on North Street that "wasn't here when I took the oath of office in 2016."

Surrounded by dozens of her supporters, Tyer ticked off her accomplishments.

Under her leadership, she said, the city fought to keep Covanta in the city, saving Pittsfield $462,000 a year in waste management costs. She cited new energy in streetscape work, noting that momentum now extends to Tyler Street.

She said she worked to strengthen the city's relationship with MassDevelopment, through which the state funnels development support. Her team has secured $17 million in outside grant funding since she took office, she said — from agencies and foundations "who believe in our city."

People are investing in Pittsfield, and that "cannot be denied."

"I'm an optimistic champion for our city," she said.

Since she took office, she said her team has resurfaced 41 miles of roads and created 113 private-sector jobs. She helped secure community support for the ShotSpotter system, which alerts the Pittsfield Police Department to shots fired, and rolled out the red-carpet team to welcome new businesses like Wayfair, slated to bring 300 new jobs into the city.

Development projects underway like the Berkshire Innovation Center and the Morningstar complex on Tyler Street stand as examples of incoming assets to which she's lent her support.

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"I walk this road with many," she said. "There's so much more that we need to do for our beloved city."

And the average homeowner saw their tax bill go down for the first time since 1993, she said.

To combat blight, she has led the city to demolish a handful of slouching homes each year. And with the aim of helping homeowners avoid the conditions that lead to these demolitions, Tyer is workshopping her At Home in Pittsfield initiative, which would give residents zero-interest loans to spruce up the exterior of their homes.

But the fight against crime continues, she said while answering questions from the media. The underlying issues are complex, she said, citing addiction and mental illness, and "we are working at it."

"We are doing what we can with the resources that we have to try to address this issue," she said.

Tyer said she's gearing up for a busy summer.

"I'm going to work hard, as I always do, and win this election," she said. "One vote at a time."

She's past the learning curve, she told The Eagle after her speech. And now she's rolling up her sleeves.

"I am expecting competition," she said. "We're going to be ready for anything."

Amanda Drane can be contacted at adrane@berkshireeagle.com, @amandadrane on Twitter, and 413-496-6296.


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