PITTSFIELD, Mass. — 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.
But, it is not enough. Parks and Open Spaces Manager Jim McGrath said the project is about $150,000 underfunded after the most recent bids were opened. The project has to be done by the end of June or else the city will lose its starting funding for it. The project had already been scaled back once in a cost-cutting measure and the decision has been made to ask the City Council to cover the difference.
"This allows the whole project to move forward comprehensively and the way it was designed," McGrath said.
The focus on the park started with the formation of a Buddy Pellerin Field Committee. That group organized an effort to rename the baseball field, which is home for the Pittsfield High Generals, after the former coach. From there, they've began raising money and making improvements to the field. The group has a multi-year vision to completely transform the field.
The Rotary Club then joined in. In celebration of its 100th year, the group voted to donate $180,000 to build a splash pad at Clapp Park. The city brought those funding sources together and applied, and received, the state grant. The City Council would later approve another $150,000 to be used to renovate the bathrooms at the park.
"That was a critical part of the project," McGrath said of the restrooms.
McGrath said he wasn't sure why the bids on the project came in over budget twice. The design put to bid was already scaled back from the original vision and McGrath said it seems that bids have been coming in higher than expected more frequently now.
"I don't know what the reasoning is all I know is we have a project we are trying to execute and we don't have enough funding," McGrath said.
The City Council is now being asked to increase the capital authorization by $325,000 and then rescind the $150,000 eyed specifically for the bathrooms. The bathrooms aren't being removed from the project but rather the funds for the entire project are being consolidated into one authorization.
That move will give the $150,000 or so needed to complete the project plus a little extra for contingency should an issue be discovered during construction.
"Any time you start scratching into the ground and working on the subsurface, there are always unknowns," McGrath said, later adding,"if we don't need all of that money, we won't use all of that money."
The city had hoped to have the project's contract awarded already and the timeline is getting tighter. McGrath said the deadline for the state funds is June 30.
"We risk losing the $400,000 reimbursement," McGrath said.
The timeline now is to get the contract awarded and work started in early May. The work on the baseball field would be done last, allowing for the high school team to finish the season on the field.
"We can get this project in in the course of two months," McGrath said.
Mountain View Landscapewas the sole bidder on the project this time with a price of $672,750. That price, however, is just for the base work, McGrath said. He said the city will also be purchasing the playground equipment, splash pad parts, player benches, and other materials for the work on their own. Nor does that price include a buffer should there be problems.
McGrath said he isn't happy that the department is in the position to have to ask the council for more money but he believes the councilors will see the value in the project.
"I have confidence that the council likes the project and will back the project," he said.
The City Council will field the request at its meeting Tuesday evening.
A final design for more than a half million dollars worth of improvements to Clapp Park was finalized Monday. The Parks Commission gave its stamp of approval on the design crafted by Berkshire Design Group. The design, however, isn't entirely what parks officials had been hoping for when first crafted.
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
The new splash pad at Clapp Park is eyed to be located where the basketball court currently sits. The basketball court is eyed to move to the rear of the property. A new parking lot, and curbcut onto Route 20, will be built next to the splash bad. The bullpen will be moved. The playground will be renovated. The backstop will be moved back and the track will be repaired.
The state is investing $400,000 to renovate Clapp Park. Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Friday some $6.3 million worth of grants statewide for park improvement projects. Pittsfield received the maximum amount through the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs project for a massive renovation to the West Housatonic Street Park.
On Monday, Carr Hardware did what it said it would do - donate its recent prize winnings toward building a splash pad at Clapp Park. The local company has won the "Indie Award" as small business of the year from the business organization Independent We Stand. The prize includes $5,000 cash, which Carr Hardware opted to go toward a splash pad project in partnership with the city of the Rotary Club.
The first round of improvements to the newly named Buddy Pellerin Field at Clapp Park is set for this summer. The Parks Commission gave the group heading the effort the Okay to order a scoreboard and to continue planning for a number of other additions and changes to the field. The group has already raised $20,000 and has set a goal of a quarter of a million to make four phases worth of improvements to the ballfield.
The committee behind the naming of Buddy Pellerin Baseball Field at Clapp Park has set a goal of raising $250,000 in the next three years to improve the ballfield. The Parks Commission in April unanimously approved renaming the Clapp Park ballfield after longtime baseball coach George "Buddy" Pellerin. The committee for the Clapp Park Project had applied for the naming and presented the commission more than 150 letters of support.
The baseball field at Clapp Park is being named after former coach Buddy Pellerin. The Parks Commission approved the naming on Tuesday after being overwhelmed by support from former players, family and friends of Pellerin. A large crowd filled the meeting room as Ken Ferris gave a presentation on not just why Pellerin deserved the recognition but also plans to upgrade the field.
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PCTV Documentary Finds Pittsfield Parade Dates Back to 1801
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Pittsfield Community Television's recently released documentary "Fighting For Independence: The History of the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade" has traced the first Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade back to at least 1801.
An article in the Pittsfield Sun from July 7, 1801, says that "at 12:00 o’ clock at noon a Procession was formed consisting of the Militia of the town."
Previously the Pittsfield Parade Committee acknowledged that the parade dated back to 1824.
"This was a fascinating discovery, as we researched to put this documentary together," said Bob Heck, PCTV’s coordinator of advancement and community production and executive producer of the program. "Not only were we able to trace the parade back further than ever before, but to see how the parade has impacted Pittsfield, and how the community always seems to come together to make sure the parade happens is remarkable."
The Pittsfield Fourth of July parade experienced bumps in the road even back in the early 1800s - most notably, when Captain Joseph Merrick, a Federalist, excluded Democrats from the yearly post-parade gathering at his tavern in 1808.
The parade ran concurrently from at least 1801 until 1820. In 1821, Pittsfield’s spiritual leader Dr. Rev. Heman Humphrey, canceled the festivities so the day could be dedicated to God before resuming in 1822 after residents decided they wanted their parade.
"Fighting for Independence: The History of the Pittsfield Fourth of July Parade" premiered July 4 at 9:30 am on PCTV Access Pittsfield Channel 1301 and PCTV Select. The program is available on-demand on PCTV Select, available on Roku and Apple TV, or online.
The board voted 3-2 on Monday to allow the bar on Lake Pontoosuc to open up seating and serve beer and wine on its patio under the governor's orders for Phase 2 that allows for outside dining.
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