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Clapp Park is set to receive a massive upgrade.

Pittsfield's Clapp Park Renovation Getting Scaled Back

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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The Buddy Pellerin Field Committee has been upgrading the baseball field.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The grand vision for Clapp Park is going to have to be scaled back a bit. 
Parks and Open Space Manager James McGrath told the Parks Commission on Tuesday that the design currently crafted is estimated to go over the $675,000 budget for the project. He is now working with Berkshire Design on scaling the concept back slightly to make the numbers work.
"We're not going to get everything we wanted," McGrath said.
The current concept re-envisions the entire park. It adds a new parking lot, paves the entrance, rehabilitates the baseball field, builds new restrooms, moves the basketball court to the other end of the park, installs new playground equipment, new walking paths, and a splash pad.
But as more details have been developed, the price tag has grown. For example, the original concept called for rehabilitating the bathrooms at the park but McGrath said he's been advised that there is asbestos in the tiles and in the caulking and they would have to become handicapped accessible. It would be better to build a new. 
He said there is a lot of drainage and underground work that needs to be done — and because of his experience with the renovation of the Common, he is expecting unplanned issues with water lines or electrical utilities at the park when construction starts. 
McGrath had hoped to get the project started this fall because it has to be completed by the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 2019. Now he is working with the engineers to pull out the items that can fit into the budget. 
"This is the process. It is a dirty process when we are designing, planning, and cost estimating. We will get to the other side of this in good shape," McGrath said.
But there are some necessities for the new project. The Rotary Club, with help from Carr Hardware, is paying for the splash pad so that must be done. The Buddy Pellerin Field Committee and the Community Preservation Act Committee is paying for work on the field. The city allocated capital funds toward the bathrooms. McGrath said it is important to keep all of those elements in place in the final design.
The largest funder of the project is the state, which awarded a $400,000 Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities grant to bring all of those concepts together and fast-forward them into a complete renovation of the West Housatonic Street park. That grant expires on June 30, 2019.
McGrath is now focusing his attention on reducing such things as the number of new trees eyed to line West Housatonic Street and reducing the distances of the walking paths. He said the design may ultimately mean the basketball court isn't completely rebuilt, but instead just moved and refurbished with the same material.
But the plan is not together yet. McGrath is going to be asking for a special Parks Commission meeting soon to approve the final design once it comes together. 

Tags: parks commission,   public parks,   

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Innovation Center on Schedule For January Opening

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Berkshire Innovation Center is still on schedule to open sometime in January.
The center's Executive Director Ben Sosne gave a brief update to the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority last week and said board should expect a grand opening in the first half of January.  
"I was just through the building and it looks fantastic," he said on Tuesday. "I am really excited to get this thing open and welcome everybody in."
He said in the next few months they will be moving in tenants and figuring out final specs.
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