Parks and Open Spaces Manager James McGrath told the Parks Commission on Wednesday that he recently received a letter from the Pittsfield Suns stating that the team will not participate in the 2020 season.
Last year's news of a half-million dollar renovation of Russell Field was welcome to everyone who has used the rapidly deteriorating field. That's the good news. Problems begin when the town has to cram three different softball organizations into one field while Russell is undergoing construction.
Parks and Open Spaces Manager James McGrath gave the Parks Commission a quick preview of some possible fiscal 2020 Community Preservation Act projects and noted the floating dock at Burbank Park is at the top of his list.
Wetland issues have derailed planned improvements to Pontsoosuc Lake Park.
The Friends of Pontoosuc Lake received $15,000 from the Community Preservation Act with the intent to restore the beach on the Hancock Road side. The city's Parks, Open Space and Natural Resource Program Manager Jim McGrath, however, said it was found that the former beach has essentially turned into wetlands.
The Parks Commission is looking to strengthen the rules for both park and conservation areas.
The city recently saw large groups of youth causing mayhem in Springside Park by fighting and using air rifles. The city is now added language to specifically outlaw those and BB guns to strengthen Police authority to enforce the rules.
The design efforts to restore the Springside Pond is entering the permitting phase.
Parks and Open Spaces Manager Jim McGrath updated the Parks Commission on Tuesday about the progress and said the city will be seeking permits from the Conservation Commission in the coming weeks. However, the project itself is going to be costly and a funding source has not been identified.
After bids came in too high twice, the City Council is being asked to up the city's contribution toward the renovation of Clapp Park.
The city had received a $400,000 state grant to undertake a massive restoration of the West Housatonic Street park. That was matched by city funds for bathrooms, the community preservation act funding, $180,000 donation from the Rotary Club, and a $5,000 donation from Carr Hardware.
The commissioners on Monday looked to codify past practices and to shore up a protocol that would clearly spell out a chain of command to follow when teams have to be denied field usage after approval.
The Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee learned about the town-owned properties that could potentially be developed for recreation.
And it learned why one large, highly accessible property likely won't be developed any time soon.
The plans include a new playground, basketball court, youth baseball field, soccer-sized multi-use field, practice wall, walking path and parking area. Across Brayton Terrace on the Hoosic River side will be two pocket parks, picnic tables, information panels on the river and wildlife and a focal element that would be a replication of a waterwheel.
Berkshire Lightscapes is honing in on a plan to add lighting to Park Square.
The non-profit raised a little more than $100,000 for its plan to add lighting to City Hall, Dunham Mall, and Park Square. The Dunham Mall lights were added in the winter, decorating the walkway with rotating snowflakes, and Park Square is next.
The Animal Control Commission is backing the idea of having a pilot dog park at the East Street softball complex.
The city's Office of Community Development has proposed the idea of using one of the fields there to test out a dog park. The city had started the process of securing funding and building a dog park but that is at least another year out. So for now, the city is looking to use the fields that haven't been used in some two years in the meantime.
The Parks Commission wants to crack down on off-leash dogs at Kirvin Park.
The park off of Williams Street had long been used by dog owners as a place to let their four-legged friends run off leash. However, dogs are required to be on leash in a city park and the increasing use of the park of dogs has led to problems.
Pickleball put the city in a somewhat of a pickle.
The Parks Commission approved a plan to develop pickleball courts near the Doyle Softball Complex in Springside Park but not without opposition. The approval goes against the Springside Park Conservancy's wishes that the project takes a backburner to others specifically outlined in the park's master plan.
The Little League is looking to spruce up Deming Park.
Greg Coscia has begun conversations with the city to make a number of improvements to the park. First, the league wants to make railings leading to the scorekeepers building permanent. Those were installed prior to the district tournament when stairs were replaced and repaired. Coscia hopes to put a taller fence behind it to make it more difficult for trespassers to get in.
The parks commission oversees all the sports facilities and public parks in the city but not Windsor Lake or Historic Valley Campground. It also doesn't have much to do with the Armory or the Peter W. Foote Vietnam Veterans Memorial Skating Rink.