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A graphic of what the practice board would look like at Kemp Park, provided by David Willette.

North Adams Parks Commission Considers Practice Board for Brayton

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Park commissioners are hoping to squeeze a multi-sport practice board into the plans being developed for Brayton Park.
Commissioner David Willette has been advocating for the practice board, an idea he brought forward more than a year ago prior to be appointed to the commission. The initial idea had been to install the board at Kemp Park but commissioners noted that funding has been obtained for renovating Brayton. 
The city recently was awarded a $318,500 Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities grant to overhaul the park and athletic field. 
"We got grant money for Brayton and that way we can be sure that the footings and the fence are done right," Willette said at last week's Parks and Recreation Commission meeting. "And not using the 50-year-old footings at Kemp."  
Commissioner Robert LeClair also noted that have been discussions about how Kemp will be used in the future.  
"There's no sense doing a wall at Kemp when we don't know [what is going to be done there]," he said. "We know Brayton is going to be done."
The multi-use sports board would be a solid wall with lines painted on to show where goal posts or nets would be on a field. Individuals could practice soccer or tennis by hitting against the wall. Willette said he would also like to see a poly surface installed in front of the wall as a low maintenance option.
Secretary Timothy Koperek read a letter from Michael Nuvallie, the city's special projects coordinator, updating the commission on the Brayton project. 
The project had initially been split into a Phase 1 (the school playground) and Phase 2 (the public playground at the base of the hill). 
After attending a state workshop on PARC grants, Nuvallie wrote, "it seems to make better sense to combine both phases of this work into one bigger package so as to account for all the new improvements. In this way, it will achieve some economies of scale by having one contractor onsite versus more than one and it allows better oversight and site control."
The project is currently in design with expected elements to include new playground equipment, field renovations, basketball court and walking path. 
Koperek said combining both phases makes sense. 
"And this is where we ought to ask him about putting the wall in since it's in design," he said.
Willette also advocated for returning sliding to Brayton Hill, which was covered with bushes and landscaping after the construction of the new school more than 20 years ago. 
"The bushes need to be able to be cut back ... all it is is landscaping," he said. "Michael [Canales] asked who's going to maintain it? I said Mother Nature ...
 "If there's snow you slide, if there's no snow, you don't slide."
The commissioners also heard an update on the splash pad at Noel Field, currently on hold because of weather but expected to be completed once the good weather arrives. They also briefly discussed the idea to incorporate the skating rink and Windsor Lake to their oversight and expand the commission. No actions have so far been taken in this regard. 
The commission plans to meet with sports league leaders in the coming months to go over policies regarding the use of city fields. 
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Estate Plans Can Help You Answer Questions About the Future

Submitted by Edward Jones

The word "estate" conjures images of great wealth, which may be one of the reasons so many people don't develop estate plans. After all, they're not rich, so why make the effort? In reality, though, if you have a family, you can probably benefit from estate planning, whatever your asset level. And you may well find that a comprehensive estate plan can help you answer some questions you may find unsettling – or even worrisome.

Here are a few of these questions:

* What will happen to my children?
With luck, you (and your co-parent, if you have one) will be alive and well at least until your children reach the age of majority (either 18 or 21, depending on where you live). Nonetheless, you don't want to take any chances, so, as part of your estate plans, you may want to name a guardian to take care of your children if you are not around. You also might want to name a conservator – sometimes called a "guardian of the estate" – to manage any assets your minor children might inherit.

* Will there be a fight over my assets? Without a solid estate plan in place, your assets could be subject to the time-consuming, expensive – and very public – probate process. During probate, your relatives and creditors can gain access to your records, and possibly even challenge your will. But with proper planning, you can maintain your privacy. As one possible element of an estate plan, a living trust allows your property to avoid probate and pass quickly to the beneficiaries you have named.

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