North Adams Transcript
WILLIAMSTOWN -- Eight local initiatives are the beneficiaries of this year’s round of funding from the Fund for Williamstown.
A total of $10,784 in grants, ranging from $400 to $3,000, have been awarded to support a variety of efforts, including the second annual Sheep Hill Ukulele Music Festival, Images Cinema’s upgrade to new industry-compliant digital technology, Elder Services of Berkshire County’s Meals on Wheels program and Higher Ground’s effort to find long-term housing solutions for displaced residents of The Spruces Mobile Home Park.
Jason Dohaney, chairman of the fund’s advisory committee, said Friday that each initiative receiving a grant needs to have an impact on Williamstown in some way.
"We try to balance the needs of the cultural and social interests of the community," he said.
The fund only received 15 grant applications this year, which is lower than in previous years, he said.
"We didn’t distribute all the funds that were available to us this year because we didn’t receive the same amount of grant applications that we usually do," he said.
Images Cinema received $2,500 to go toward switching from film to digital technology.
Sandra Thomas, executive director of Images, said that for years, the movie industry has talked about converting from 35 mm film to digital technology. FOX Searchlight, one of the major film
"This is the biggest change in the film industry in 100 years," she said. "In order for us to continue into the future as a film exhibitor, we need to convert to this new, industry-compliant digital technology."
The entire project is going to cost about $75,000, and to-date, $50,000 has been raised toward it, she said.
"We’ve been doing some fundraising quietly, and we’ve also applied for a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council’s Cultural Facilities Fund," she said.
Higher Ground, a nonprofit formed in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene to help displaced residents of The Spruces Mobile Home Park, received $3,000 from the Fund for Williamstown.
Robin Lenz, coordinator for Higher Ground, said those funds will be put toward the organization’s current focus of providing disaster replacement housing for Spruces residents who have been unable to find permanent places to live.
"We’ve identified the need. Now we’re working on putting together grant applications, and finding a good site," she said.
Higher Ground isn’t seeking to duplicate the efforts of the town’s Affordable Housing Committee, which is working to increase the amount of affordable housing that is locally available, but rather aid those affected by Irene, she said.
To reach Meghan Foley,