Mayor Daniel Bianchi leads a ground of children to a smooth landing at walking loop ceremony.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — With families now owning multiple cars, it seems almost automatic to drive.
But city officials want people to rethink that automation. Instead of driving a few blocks, why not walk?
On Monday, officials celebrated the creation of the city's second walking loop to encourage more healthy lifestyles.
"We have to change the mindset for our children and let them know that it isn't a crime to walk two or three blocks to get to some place," said Mayor Daniel Bianchi.
The new loop is 2.74 miles around the Morningside neighborhood. Signs along Tyler, Merrill, First and Fenn streets direct walkers where to go in a safe manner. Once the Woodlawn Street bridge is rebuilt, the loop will go on that road, too.
"Along the route you will see street signs to keep you on track," said organizer Shiobbean Lemme.
Bianchi added that the city is currently looking at ways to improve the lighting on Tyler Street to further encourage the use of the route.
Dozens of people gathered at St. Mary's Church on Monday to take the first walk around the now official loop.
Director of Public Health Gina Armstrong said walking only a little provides great health benefits. The hope of the walking loop is to encourage more people to walk to various places — such as the Common, the farmer's market or to the various Morningside businesses.
"Walking 30 to 50 minutes, five days a week has tremendous health benefits," Armstrong. "That's not much in a week to fit in."
The loop was created by Be Well Berkshires, the city's health and community development offices, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission and the Tyler Street Business group. The group said it is willing to work with any neighborhood to develop loops. The Morningside loop follows the development of the Downtown Loop in 2012.
"We are kind of in the second phase. We started with the downtown walking loop and now Morningside. We hope to have connectivity to the Common," Armstrong said.
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Environment Secretary Visits Pittsfield
Kathleen Theoharides, secretary of energy and environmental affairs, visits the site of culvert project in Pittsfield being funded through the state's climate readiness program.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides was in Pittsfield on Friday to review a state-funded culvert site and meet with local officials to discuss the state's climate readiness program.
She joined Mayor Linda Tyer at the Churchill Street culvert, a site which recently received grant funding through the state's Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program. The city was awarded an $814,524 state grant in June for the Churchill Brook and West Street Culvert Replacement Project.
Through the MVP program, which begun in 2017, municipalities identify key climate-related hazards, vulnerabilities and strengths, develop adaptation actions, and prioritize next steps. The initiative which initially started as a $500,000 capital grant program has now increased to $12 million. Pittsfield is among the 71 percent of communities across the commonwealth now enrolled in the MVP program.
"The governor and the lieutenant governor have made resilient infrastructure a priority all across the state and I think it's really important to know that we have a really vested interest in Western Massachusetts communities as well as all across the state, not forgetting the Berkshires or Pioneer Valley," said Theoharides in a statement. "Our MVP program is really focused on these types of partnership investments and looking to design infrastructure for the challenges we're seeing today and moving forward as climate change increases."
Four names will be on the preliminary ballot but only three candidates showed for the debate held by the Pittsfield Gazette and hosted at Berkshire Community College. The moderator was radio host Larry Kratka and Pittsfield Community Television aired the event.
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City Council President Peter Marchetti feels he's brought "professional leadership" to the city and he wants to continue doing so.
Marchetti is again seeking re-election to the council - it'll be his ninth campaign for council and 10th for elected office - in the last two decades. He's had what... click for more