PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Community Preservation Committee has given the city its blessing to continue working toward a Pontoosuc Lake beach.
Parks and Open Spaces Manager James McGrath asked the committee Monday for permission to spend down the balance of the city's Community Preservation Funds to find a new location for the beach.
"I think it is just too important to the city and is a valuable park space," McGrath said. "This is a site that I think is not living up to its full potential and, at one point in time, that was a premier location."
Over a year ago, Friends of Pontoosuc Lake were approved for $15,000 from the Community Preservation Act funds to re-establish a city beach at Pontoosuc Lake Park.
McGrath said the city hired SK Design Group to look at drainage issues that have deteriorated the city beach over the years.
"It was a very popular spot where there was in fact a lifeguard station and a changing hut and a series of docks but over time a lot of that went away," he said. "What we were left with was simply an old beach at the bottom of an old staircase … there is no more and over time this was taken over as grass and maintained as grass.
McGrath said the project would help the city understand drainage issues that led to the deterioration of the beach. He said the study would inform new drainage that could intercept the water and drain off in the lake and dry up the area.
SK design did some survey work but ultimately it was found that the proposed beach, which is about 200 feet long, is now a wetland and therefore has to follow wetland restrictions.
"There are now rules that prohibit us from converting this back into a beach," McGrath said. "It would be the taking of a wetland so we are sort of at a stopping point.
There are two ways in which the project can go: forget about it or look for a new location along the waterfront.
McGrath said if allowed to go forward, they would ask permission to spend the remaining $12,000 to continue survey work along the shore in hopes of finding a new location that could support a public beach.
The new beach would have to be connected to the established parking area and thought is for looking eastward to avoid the busy channel.
SK Design would work with the city to get as far as possible in the development of the park with the remaining money. McGrath said additional funds would be sought if needed through another competitive application.
He was asked if there was any interest in letting the area simply stay a wetland and letting it turn into an ecological site. McGrath said the future of this plot is still unknown and this could be looked at. But first, he said, a conversation needs to be had with the community and the Parks Commission. To continue surveying the land would begin this conversation.
People continue to fish, swim, and launch boats from the grassy area and Chairman John Dickson said even if the activity was prohibited there, he thought people would continue doing what they have been doing for years and utilizing the water access.
McGrath agreed and said this beach and Burbank Park are probably the most utilized parks in the city during the summer and he felt developing some kind of beach on Pontoosuc Lake would greatly improve the resource.
"People are not spending the afternoon here at a sandy beach because we don't have that so maybe it is just more undeveloped," he said. "But the views from this location are some of the best in the city over the lake. They can't be beat there is a lot of potential at this park."
The committee unanimously approved the request to continue study and design work.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
iBerkshires.com welcomes critical, respectful dialogue. Name-calling, personal attacks, libel, slander or foul language is not allowed. All comments are reviewed before posting and will be deleted or edited as necessary.
Greylock Federal Credit Union Reopens Kellogg Street Branch
By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
A crowd gathers for the grand reopening of the Kellogg Street branch.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Greylock Federal Credit Union returned "home" with the grand opening of its newly renovated Kellogg Street branch that also houses the new Community Empowerment Center.
"Why did we invest millions here?" John Bissell, president and chief executive officer, asked before Monday's ribbon-cutting. "Because this is our home. This was Greylock's first home. This nieghborhood has been our heartbeat since 1935."
The expanded and renovated building will not only offer typical banking services but also free counseling to help residents with their financial futures.
Vice President of Administration Jamie Ellen Moncecchi said Greylock looks to give residents in need the tools and resources to help them navigate their financial lives. She went on to say the center will offer free community education, budgeting and credit building classes, and loan coaching.
Seven candidates fielded questions at a forum hosted by BCC, in partnership with the Pittsfield Gazette and Pittsfield Community Television, which recorded the forum. The moderator was Shawn Serre, executive director of PCTV.
click for more
Girard said they reached out to the city's engineering department, building commissioner, and the permitting coordinator and submitted some new plans. He said because the change was so minor the building inspector signed off on it and they blocked off the area and prepared for construction.
click for more
The reported was shared by Superintendent Jason McCandless at last Wednesday's meeting. School Committee member William Cameron noted that some of the exiting employees were only hired at the beginning of the school year.
click for more
The path on Friday night was a yellow brick road to "A Night in the Emerald City," the theme for these year's fundraising gala for the nonprofit that was held at Country Club of Pittsfield. Phelps donned a purple witch's hat to welcome guests to the event that also included recognition of several... click for more