image description
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
Print Story | Email Story

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,   

2 Comments
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue; please keep comments focused on the issues and not on personalities. Profanity, obscenity, racist language and harassment are not allowed. iBerkshires reserves the right to ban commenters or remove commenting on any article at any time. Concerns may be sent to info@iberkshires.com.

Sticking to Budget Can Boost Your Emergency Fund

Submitted by Edward Jones

During the coronavirus pandemic, our health concerns – for ourselves and our loved ones – have been at the top of our minds. But financial worries have been there, too, both for people whose employment has been affected and for investors anxious about the volatile financial markets. 

And one aspect of every individual's total financial picture has become quite clear – the importance of an emergency fund.

In normal times, it's a good idea for you to keep three to six months' worth of living expenses in a liquid, low-risk account. Having an emergency fund available can help you cope with those large, unexpected costs, such as a major car repair or a costly medical bill.

Furthermore, if you have an adequate emergency fund, you won't have to dip into your long-term investments to pay for short-term needs. These investment vehicles, such as your IRA and 401(k), are designed for your retirement, so the more you can leave them intact, the more assets you are likely to have when you retire. And because they are intended for your retirement, they typically come with disincentives, including taxes and penalties, if you do tap into them early. (However, as part of the economic stimulus legislation known as the CARES Act, individuals can now take up to $100,000 from their 401(k) plans and IRAs without paying the 10 percent penalty that typically applies to investors younger than 59 1/2. If you take this type of withdrawal, you have up to three years to pay the taxes and, if you want, replace the funds, beyond the usual caps on annual contributions.)

Of course, life is expensive, so it's not always easy to put away money in a fund that you aren't going to use for your normal cash flow. That’s why it's so important to establish a budget and stick to it. When developing such a budget, you may find ways to cut down on your spending, freeing up money that could be used to build your emergency fund.

There are different ways to establish a budget, but they all typically involve identifying your income and expenses and separating your needs and wants. You can find various online budgeting tools to help you get started, but, ultimately, it's up to you to make your budget work. Nonetheless, you may be pleasantly surprised at how painless it is to follow a budget. For example, if you have budgeted a certain amount for food each month, you will need to avoid going to the grocery store several times a week, just to pick up "a few things" – because it doesn't really take that many visits for those few things to add up to hundreds of dollars. You will be much better off limiting your trips to the grocery, making a list of the items you need and adhering to these lists. After doing this for a few months, see how much you have saved – it may be much more than you would expect. Besides using these savings to strengthen your emergency fund, you could also deploy them toward longer-term investments designed to help you reach other objectives, such as retirement.

Saving money is always a good idea, and when you use your savings to build an emergency fund, you can help yourself prepare for the unexpected and make progress toward your long-term goals.

View Full Story

More North Adams Stories