By Joe DurwinPittsfield Correspondent Print | Email
The Parks Commission approved spending for new backstop fencing at Deming Field.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Despite fresh coats of snow outside, attention at City Hall has turned to warmer weather concerns as the Parks Commission approved improvements to Deming Field along with a variety of new and established park events.
The commission on Tuesday made its first budgetary allocation in a year and a half, putting aside up to $12,900 from the city's waning Bossidy funds for the installation of new backstop fencing at Deming's Babe Ruth field.
Commissioner Anthony DiMartino has worked with staff over the past months to examine what was needed and worked to devise an installation that would address safety issues at the best possible cost for the dwindling funds available.
DiMartino said a previous estimate had been more than $16,000, but revised calculations should allow the city to be able to bid the project for at or under the amount of $12,900 he requested the commission to approve on Tuesday.
"This way we can start construction as soon as the ground allows, and finally put this project to rest," said DiMartino.
Following this allocation, about $64,000 remains of the "Bossidy Bucks," a $1 million gift to the city from Larry Bossidy in 2001 to support athletic field improvements, such as $140,000 in redevelopment to Deming Park's Babe Ruth facilities in 2007. Most recently, the commission approved a $15,000 allocation from the fund in the fall 2012 to help subsidize new state of the art lighting at the Doyle Softball Complex at Springside Park.
The commission approved permits early for this year for several summer events. The Live on the Lake free concert series will return for its 13th year at Burbank Park every Wednesday night from July 9 to Aug. 27, and a date of July 19 has been set for the 32nd year of the "Gather-In" at Pitt Park, which will extend its hours to 7 in the evening this year.
The Wing Fling, which transitioned to Wahconah Park last year after Downtown Pittsfield Inc. took over the event run for many years by the YMCA, will return to the baseball stadium on Aug. 23.
"I think based on our experience last year, all of our growing pains in transitioning the Wing Fling from the Y to Downtown Pittsfield Inc. are over," said Peter Marchetti, representing the downtown business alliance. "And we're looking forward to having another successful fundraising event at Wahconah Park as we did last year."
The YMCA is also replacing its annual triathlon with some smaller-scale events this year, including a "Tie-Die Run" around Burbank Park on May 10. This casual 5K will include runners being spattered with colored corn starch, according to Youth & Adult Wellness Director Kaylyn Kern.
The woodland trails of Springside Park will also host two kinds of racing this summer. A "Race to the Series" will be held for runners on the afternoon of June 29, to help fund raise for the upcoming Girls Softball World Series being held here this summer. Throughout the summer on Tuesday evenings, the Berkshire Cycling Association will launch a new mountain bike race training series.
"This is similar to the cyclo-cross races we've had at the park in past years," said BCA representative Michael Ward. It will have a different course and incorporate a youth division to accommodate a group that used the Common, which will be under its final phases of construction.
The commission was told that this will not impact the annual concerts that are also held on Tuesday evenings at Springside, as the course will be in the northern half of the park, with parking in a separate lot.
While the coming seasons are already becoming busy with scheduled park events, Community Development staff reported successes with winter programming as well.
Three free skating periods on Saturdays at the Boys & Girls Club sponsored by the city have proved popular, according to Parks Recreation Coordinator Rebecca Tefft. The final free skating will be Saturday from 2 to 3:45, with skates provided by the Boys & Girls Club. Good-sized crowds have also been seen at Osceola Park, where the city operates a rope tow for sledders, weather and equipment permitting.
Tefft said another technical glitch occurred with the rope tow last weekend, necessitating more repairs. Status bulletins on the rope tow's hours of operation will be posted periodically to the Pittsfield Parks & Recreation Facebook page.
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