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Business Briefs: Clinton Church signs with Clark & Green; GBLC land donation; money-management skills course; SNAP at Lenox Farmers’ Market

Comprised of two parts, the historic structure report will provide a detailed assessment of the physical condition of the building, recommendations for immediate actions needed to stabilize the building and a catalog of specific elements of architectural or historic value.

Clinton Church Restoration hires Clark & Green to prepare structure report

Great Barrington — Clinton Church Restoration Inc. has hired the Clark & Green architectural firm to prepare a historic structure report for the former Clinton A.M. E. Zion Church. Clark & Green is one of five firms that responded to a request for proposal issued by CCR, the nonprofit that recently purchased the Elm Court property from the A.M.E. Zion Conference’s North Eastern Episcopal District.

The report is a key step on the path to restoring the 130-year-old deconsecrated church, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a site on the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Trail. Comprised of two parts, the report will provide a detailed assessment of the physical condition of the building, recommendations for immediate actions needed to stabilize the building and a catalog of specific elements of architectural or historic value. It will also include an analysis documenting the historic, cultural and architectural importance of the property. The report will guide construction work on the building and site and will be integral to the organization’s fundraising. Steve McAlister, senior architect and project manager at Clark & Green, noted that a historic structure report typically reveals many interesting facets of a building’s history.

Steve McAlister. Photo courtesy Clark & Green
Steve McAlister. Photo courtesy Clark & Green

Prior to its closing in 2014, the church was the spiritual, political and cultural hub for the local African-American community as well as a place of significance to W.E.B. Du Bois, who was born and raised in Great Barrington. The CCR initiative, chaired by longtime Clinton Church congregant Wray Gunn, is part of a growing movement around the country to preserve and honor African-American historic places.

Donations to the Clinton Church Restoration fund may be made online or by check payable to Housatonic Heritage–with “Clinton Church Restoration” written in the memo line­–and sent to P.O. Box 611, Great Barrington, MA 01230. Those interested in volunteering with the project may contact saveamechurch@gmail.com.

–E.E.

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Ladd property donated to Great Barrington Land Conservancy

Great Barrington — An undeveloped parcel of land on Route 7 measuring more than 27 acres has been donated to the Great Barrington Land Conservancy by the family of longtime Great Barrington resident George Ladd so it can be preserved forever as a natural area.

The parcel is a highly visible natural landscape including meadow, wetland and forest habitats and located just north of Berkshire South Regional Community Center and Crissey Farm. GBLC will retain approximately 27 acres of the parcel and will work to develop a new hiking trail that connects to the Threemile Hill Trail at Fountain Pond and walking trails at the Community Health Programs complex. At the request of the Ladd family, a 0.63-acre parcel will be donated to Berkshire South.

“GBLC is delighted to preserve this property as open space and for future community use. This is a large area that could have been developed. Through the generosity of the Ladd family, the land will be protected in perpetuity and we will hopefully be able to develop new trails, providing a safe walking corridor along a busy highway route”, noted GBLC president Carol Noble.

The potential new trail will depend upon a number of pieces falling into place including trail easements from neighboring landowners, a successful trail design and permitting process, and significant fundraising for construction.

–E.E.

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BCC to offer free money-management skills course

Great Barrington — This fall, Berkshire Community College will offer a free course to help students achieve a level of financial independence thanks to a partnership with Guardian Life Insurance Company of America.

The three-credit course “Money Management for Life” will cover strategies to help students manage budgets, expenses and debt; save and invest for the future; plan for the unexpected; and establish personal financial plans to achieve their goals. The course will be offered at BCC’s South County Center from 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays as well as at the Pittsfield main campus on Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday from 8 to 9:15 a.m. Fall classes begin Tuesday, Sept. 5.

For more information, contact the BCC admissions office at (413) 236-1630 or admissions@berkshirecc.edu.

–E.E.

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Lenox Farmers’ Market to accept SNAP

Lenox — Beginning Friday, Aug. 4, the Lenox Farmers’ Market will accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. The Healthy Incentives Program, which matches SNAP benefits up to a monthly cap, will be available in the amounts of up to $40 for households of one to two people, $60 for three- to five-person households and $80 for households with six or more people. For more information, contact the Lenox Town Hall at (413) 637-5500.

–E.E.

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