News & Resources

Placemaking Project: First Street Common Public Park, Pittsfield

The Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance recognizes placemaking initiatives across the Commonwealth. This project is one of many that were featured at our 2013 conference. See other placemaking examples

Located in the heart of the downtown Pittsfield – and within a designated Commonwealth Urban Center Growth District – the First Street Common public park is the largest and most critical open space/recreational park area in the center city. In addition to serving the surrounding neighborhood’s need for public open recreation space, this park also serves an important role as a downtown, community wide and regional park and public gathering area. Numerous and varied public events are held at this park each year ranging from outdoor movies, youth bike races, art shows, concerts and festivals, all accessible by public bus transit. The City has long desired to make substantial improvements to the park and to create a stronger connection to the downtown residential and commercial community and the surrounding neighborhood. In 2010, the City received Gateway Cities Park Program funding support to begin a master planning process for a significant, multi-year park rehabilitation project. Following numerous public input sessions and focused stakeholder meetings, the VHB designed master plan was endorsed by the Park Commission. The Phase 1 improvements were completed in the summer of 2011 and included new paved pathways, lighting, children’s playground area, and a promenade with ample seating and new lighting along First Street. Phase 2 improvements will be completed in November 2013. It is the desire of the City to continue the momentum toward full build-out of the phased, fully ADA accessible master plan.

Contact: James McGrath, Community Development Department, City of Pittsfield, [email protected]