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North Adams Mayor Tom Bernard is doused by water falling from the 35-gallon bucket in the new North Adams splash park on Thursday.

Splash Park Opening Makes a Big ... Well, Splash

By Rebecca DravisiBerkshires Staff
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Children of all ages came out to mark the opening of the splash park on Thursday. Find more photos from the event here.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Temperatures already had soared in the 80s on Thursday morning at the new North Adams splash park at Noel Field as a group of hot and eager children was gathered to wait for the official opening of the city's latest recreational offering.

But the park was dry, and Mayor Thomas Bernard said it would stay that way until he gave his official remarks.

Which would last about, say, 45 minutes, he teased a group of children waiting with bathing suits and baited breath.

"I've been practicing the whole time," he told them, eliciting a chorus of "noooooos" from the kids.

At 11 a.m. sharp, though, right on time, Bernard and a group of officials from the city's Parks and Recreation and Water departments stood in front of the first of two blue ribbons tied to water elements. And he said only a few words before the first ribbon was cut.

"We're going to have a lot of fun today, right, everybody?" Bernard said before thanking the state and local officials who made this latest improvement a reality, especially the public service employees who tested the park to ensure it was ready to be open. "These guys worked tirelessly. It's a great team we have here."

After that team cut the first ribbon, water sprouted from several of the green and blue features, eliciting shrieks of joy and surprise from those who joined the celebration. Then it was time for Bernard to move to the main event: cutting the second ribbon and standing below the giant bucket feature. Hamming it up for the kids surrounding him, Bernard talked about how he didn't have anything like the splash pad when he was growing up.

"If we were lucky, we had a hose, and we had a sprinkler," he said, continuing to tell stories. "And I'm going to stand here, and I'm going to talk some more, because there's no chance anything is going to happen."

The kids all laughed and cheered, because they knew what was about to happen. The mayor kept talking, and sure enough, a few minutes later, the bucket filled up and tipped over, dropping its 35 gallons on the all the kids -- and the mayor.

"It's terrific. It was a long time coming," Bernard said a few minutes later as he dried his face, talking about how the city crews had worked hard to test the splash pad over the last few days, including holding a "soft opening" earlier in the week. But he was happy to hold the grand opening on the holiday, he said.

"We had to do it on the Fourth of July," he said.

Bernard also said he was happy just water had fallen from the bucket, as he had wondered if the workers had a special ice bucket challenge-style surprise waiting for him.

"They didn't give me any special treatment," he said.

The splash pad is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily throughout the summer. Fall hours will be announced at a later date.

But on Thursday, it was all about the kids of all ages running around, laughing and cooling off.

"It was good," said one shy and wet little boy from Adams.

"It was a good day to open it," his father agreed.

 


Tags: children & families,   family,   Noel Field,   public parks,   

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Mohawk Trail Woodlands, Forest Service Team Up on Conservation

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff

BRPC's Tom Matuszko asks advisory board members to raise their hands as FRCOG's Executive Director Linda Dunlavy waits to speak.
CHARLEMONT, Mass. — A shared stewardship agreement signed Thursday will bring U.S. Forest Service expertise to the state while keeping hundreds of thousands of acres of forestland in state and private hands. 
 
The Mohawk Trail Woodland Partnership encompasses 361,941 acres of state and private land across 21 communities in the northwestern corner of the state. About 28 percent of that land is permanently protected. The partnership will enhance conservation and forest research and provide technical support for businesses that depend on the region's natural resources such as tourism and forestry products.
 
"I am from this region, it is a part of the state that is near and dear to my heart," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides at signing held at Berkshire East Mountain Resort. "Something that is a priority to the governor is making sure that this region can continue to have economic security and opportunity for people, but also that connectedness to the landscape and that rootedness in the special places that make up Western Massachusetts."
 
Theoharides said the state is losing about 65 acres of forestland a day to development — housing, parking lots, and commercial establishments — and it's not coming back.  
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