For the past four decades, non-profit Downtown Pittsfield Inc. has partnered with local businesses and volunteers in the city to not only promote economic growth, but also to make the downtown area a place where people want to come to work.
One of their most popular annual events is the Downtown Pittsfield Cleanup Day and Connecting Point’s Brian Sullivan visited the heart of the Berkshires on Friday May 13th to bring us the story.
Learn more about Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. in a digital exclusive interview with Managing Director Rebecca Brien.
Read the full transcript:
Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: For the past four decades, the nonprofit membership association, known as Downtown Pittsfield Inc., has been partnering with local businesses and others in the city to not only promote economic growth, but to make the downtown area a place where people want to come to work.
One of their most popular annual events is the Downtown Pittsfield Cleanup Day and Connecting Point’s Brian Sullivan visited the heart of the Berkshires to bring us the story.
Brian Sullivan, Connecting Point: Not every Friday the 13th is filled with doom and gloom. In fact, when the events of the day go off without a hitch, it’s easy to forget that there’s even a stigma attached to that date.
As was the case in Pittsfield on Friday, May 13, for the 25th Annual Downtown Cleanup hosted by Downtown Pittsfield, Inc.
Rebecca Brien, Downtown Pittsfield, Inc.: We had over 25 teams show up this year and over 200 participants who really made the job a lot easier. You know, one of the awards we give is a Dream Team award for those individuals who are helping out smaller teams because we had anywhere from two people on a team to 15, you know?
And those extra hands actually make it a lot easier to for us to be able to do things.
Brian Sullivan: It was a volunteer effort, and the participants were easy to spot as they were scattered up and down North Street and its many side streets. But not taking any chances of not being noticed was the team representing the Dulye Leadership Experience in their bright orange shirts.
Linda Dulye, Dulye Leadership Experience: Just like we believe in the revitalization of professional development in the Berkshires, we believe in the revitalization of our downtown community. And as you can see, it has gone through some — some tough times.
And by keeping it beautiful, starting with the streets and the experience that you have when you come and visit us, hopefully you’ll come back and spend more time in the Berkshires. And by the way, we have a train that’s going to be arriving soon in the Berkshires on Fridays from Manhattan.
So, if their first experience is seeing a downtown that’s clean, positive impression.
Brian Sullivan: The day is really all about teamwork. And for the Soldier On group, who’ve been helping homeless veterans find transitional and permanent housing since 1994, it was easy to apply their work philosophy to the task of the day.
Casey Dicicco, Soldier On, Inc.: As a part of our mission, it takes a village to do something. And so here in Berkshire County, I would say it’s the same thing. We need to be able to come together no matter what the task is.
So, having all these different organizations out here in downtown to get this done is awesome.
Brian Sullivan: While the groups may be coming in from all over the Berkshires, many of them have offices right here in downtown. So, cleaning the place up helps give them a sense of pride for the place where they have to come to work.
For the Berkshire Pride group, There’s that and another pressing date just around the corner.
Emma Lenski, Berkshire Pride: We are here because we care about Pittsfield. We care about the Berkshires. We care about the community as a whole.
And we want the city to look pretty for our parade on June 4th!
Brian Sullivan: Cleanup Day just happened to land on what felt like maybe the nicest day so far in the spring of ’22.
The group from Guardian Life, whose office is just up the road on South Street, possibly inspired by the nice weather, even let this guy take part in the activities.
That’s not so bad! It’s a couple of hours on a Friday. Push a broom, drag a rake, get some sun, and it’s all for a good cause.
Pittsfield Cleanup Day Participant: Hey, man, get back to work!
Brian Sullivan: The whole Cleanup Day ran from 1:30 in the afternoon until 3:30, and the day culminated outside the Marketplace Cafe, where there were sandwiches and refreshments. There were even prizes for the top four performing teams whose work was being monitored by a panel of judges who visited each designated clean up location.
We spoke with one of those panelists who summed up what the whole day was really all about.
Minister Warren Dews, Jr., Price Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church: Doing anything together with other people is an amazing thing. People excited to get back together. You know, so that alone in itself is amazing.
But simply cleaning up the place that you live, I mean, don’t want to walk around the city that’s dirty. I’ve been around those places, I know — I know how those look. I don’t want Pittsfield to be that way.