Revitalizing a downtown area is a team effort. It includes upfront public investment to encourage private dollars. In the early and mid-2000s Pittsfield, Massachusetts took major steps toward a downtown revival with targeted public investments. This included a $1 million investment to boost the $23 million dollar effort to restore the Colonial Theatre, $500K in city dollars for the renovation of the home of the Barrington Stage Company (which relocated from southern Berkshire County) and a low-interest loan that contributed to a complex financing package to support the Beacon Cinema, retrofitting an historic downtown facade with a stadium-seat six-screen movie house. These, along with tax increment financing packages for developments that restored an historic building to make way for the former Spice Restaurant, and the soon to open, Hotel on North, also encouraged private investment. Downtown-targeted zoning changes that allowed for more mixed uses, encouraged a flurry of private investment in new downtown living opportunities, such as condos and market-rate apartments. The results have been dramatic. While there is a long way to go for a full revitalization, and there have recently been several bumps in the road, Pittsfield has followed a blueprint that has elevated the downtown to a better position. In my conversation with Downtown Pittsfield Inc.’s Kristine Hurley on Berkshire Business Today, we speak about the progress, the challenges and the opportunities that remain.

President of OneEighty Media, Inc., John Krol serves as Director of Accounts and lead communications consultant for this full-service marketing, communications and advertising firm. John’s extensive experience in journalism, broadcasting, public relations, government relations, health care marketing and community outreach provides a unique perspective for businesses looking to re-energize and diversify their marketing efforts.

John Krol
President of OneEighty Media, Inc., and lead communications consultant for this full-service marketing, communications and advertising firm. John’s extensive experience in journalism, broadcasting, public relations, government relations, SEM, community outreach and marketing provides a unique perspective for businesses looking to re-energize and diversify their marketing efforts. Read more...