Boston – This afternoon, during a formal legislative session, State Senator Benjamin B. Downing (D- Pittsfield) secured the Massachusetts Senate’s preliminary approval of S. 2178, An Act modifying the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority.
S. 2178 authorizes the Mayor of Pittsfield to appoint three additional members to the Board of Directors which oversees the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority (PEDA), thereby expanding the Board’s composition to eleven members.
“Adding numbers and expertise in key policy areas to PEDA’s Board will assist the Authority in undertaking and achieving its mission,” said Downing. “I am pleased this important local priority advanced through the Senate quickly and hope that final enactment will be achieved in due time.”
PEDA, a quasi-public agency created by a special Act of the Legislature in 1996, is tasked with directing the redevelopment of the William Stanley Business Park, a 52-acre parcel that once housed the operations of General Electric. The creative re-use of this Brownfield site is considered a cornerstone of the long-term economic revitalization of Pittsfield by City officials.
Final passage of this legislation will define the membership of the PEDA Board as:
· 1 member with experience in finance and issuing bonds;
· 1 member with experience in environmental matters, including land contamination;
· 1 member with experience in economic development and planning;
· 1 member who is an attorney with experience in the field of commercial transactions;
· 1 member with experience in industrial site location;
· 1 member who is an experienced labor representative;
· 1 member who lives in or will represents the interests of City neighborhoods;
· 3 additional members; and
· The Mayor of Pittsfield.
Pittsfield Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi said he was pleased by this significant step in the state Senate to advance the legislation.
“We need more people on the PEDA Board to realize success – people with the specific skills required to redevelop a Brownfields site, who envision a business park that will someday thrive with businesses and employees who contribute to a 21st Century economy,” the Mayor said. “In addition to expertise and vision, a larger Board will also accommodate the significant need to create subcommittees that will more effectively share tasks that include grant-writing, marketing, identifying potential tenants to industrial site locations, vetting developers, creating strategic business relationships, budgeting and insuring appropriate environmental oversight.”
S. 2178, a home rule petition proposed by Bianchi and approved by a vote of the City Council on February 28, 2012, was sponsored by Downing and State Representative Tricia Farley-Bouvier (D- Pittsfield) in early March. It received a favorable recommendation by the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government on April 12th prior to the Senate’s engrossment today.
The bill now goes to the House of Representatives for review and consideration.