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PRESS RELEASE- Downing Announces Gateway Plus Action Grant for Pittsfield: $75,000 Will Boost Economic Revitalization Efforts and Develop Urban Housing Action Plan
November 26, 2008

Pittsfield- State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D-Pittsfield) is pleased to announce that the City of Pittsfield has been selected to receive a $75,000 Gateway Plus Action Grant (GPAG) through the state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).


“This new grant program is a fine example of state and local partnership working together to take advantage of a community’s unique assets and to overcome obstacles,” said Downing.  “As a Gateway City, Pittsfield is in the midst of revitalization and economic reinvention.  This influx of funding will assist in achieving our City’s long-term goals.”


This funding will be used to assist Pittsfield in the development of an Urban Housing Action Plan, a comprehensive assessment of housing needs and an action plan for addressing those needs that encourages a broad range of housing opportunities in the City’s Westside and Morningside neighborhoods.


GPAG is a new program administered by DHCD designed to support affordable housing and economic development opportunities for mixed-income communities across the Commonwealth.  Pittsfield, along with seventeen other Massachusetts cities, will each receive the maximum planning grant amount of $75,000, for a total of $1.35 million.


Gateway Plus grants provide assistance for neighborhood or downtown planning activities that expand housing opportunities and that support the revitalization of neighborhoods, including efforts to:


§  Identify appropriate sites and strategies for a broad range of housing opportunities, either rental or ownership, including affordable, market-rate, workforce, employer-assisted, elderly or special needs.

§  Expedite housing construction or rehabilitation through regulatory mechanisms such as changes to zoning, streamlined permitting and use of comprehensive permits.

§  Revitalize neighborhoods that support affordable and workforce housing.

§  Minimize the impacts of foreclosures.

§  Expand housing opportunities in downtowns or neighborhood commercial areas. 


Applications were competitively scored to determine how well the proposed planning project met grant program requirements and priorities in 10 different areas. Municipalities with populations of more than 35,000 and median and per capita income and educational attainment rates below the state average were eligible.




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