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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BCAC Taps Community For Needs Assessment
By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
Christina Maxwell of the Food Bank of Western Mass talks about food security.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Poverty was the topic of conversation on Friday to help the Berkshire Community Action Council gauge the needs in the community.
Community leaders and experts lead a panel Friday morning at the Berkshire Athenaeum to help spark a conversation among participants focused on poverty and its different catalysts.
"We are all interested in working on the destabilizing effects poverty is having on our community and so we hope that we will get some good information here," BCAC Executive Director Deborah Leonczyk said. "So please give us your ideas, your suggestions. Give us your experiences we need to hear it all."
She said as the federally designated anti-poverty agency in the county, every three years BCAC must "take the pulse" of the community and find out what the needs are. This will inform the action plan for the next three years.
Sutton led an itinerant childhood under the thumb of his alcoholic, abusive biological father. After shuttling between Massachusetts and the state of Florida, he was barely able to make it to the 11th grade before quitting in the first week. click for more