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Pittsfield Parks Commission Sees Possible Future Projects

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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Jim McGrath updates the Parks Commission on future projects. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The city may target the Burbank Park floating dock and Allen Heights Park for potential Community Preservation fund projects.
Parks and Open Spaces Manager James McGrath gave the Parks Commission a quick preview of some possible fiscal 2020 Community Preservation Act projects and noted the floating dock at Burbank Park is at the top of his list.
"The dock that is currently there is an old dock and it is not the best, stable, or sturdy," he told the commission on Tuesday. "It does not really serve the rowers' purpose."
McGrath said the dock is for rowers but inevitably residents have used it recreationally. 
"They swim out to it, they jump off of it, they lounge on it and that was initially a concern," he said. "We didn't want folks on there but we have had a hell of a time keeping people off of it. It is nearly impossible."
A new dock would be dual purpose and would accommodate rowers but also be safe for lake-goers to jump off or do whatever else. 
He said a local rowing club is prepared to raise funds for the project.
McGrath said the city would also like to use funds to improve Allen Heights Park and upgrade some playground equipment.
"We haven't really focused investment up there in years and the playground equipment is older," he said. The park is primarily for toddlers.
He said applications are due in November and he will bring these projects before the commission with other considerations.  
McGrath said there is also plan to address some of the city's basketball courts and, before snowfall, to improve the surface of the Tucker Park courts.
"It is in pretty rough shape," he said. "There are some really long linear cracks and bird bathing."
He said more substantial work on the courts could be addressed with Community Preservation funds.
He updated the commission on the repurposing of the $15,000 in Community Preservation funds to be used to find a new location for the proposed Pontoosuc Lake Park Beach.
"We have a lot of ideas and decision points to make and we hope these funds help us further that vision," he said. "This will include the Parks Commission in the near future."
Because the original location for the beach is in effect a wetland, McGrath received approval from the Community Preservation Committee last Monday night to use the remaining $12,000 to work with a design group to find a new location in the park.
McGrath gave some more project updates and said the Clapp Park project is moving along and should be completed in five to six weeks. The project entails the installation of a splash pad, improvements to the baseball field, and restoring the bathroom.
"The Clapp Park project is well under way," he said. "Everything is moving right along." 
He said they will likely wait for spring to hold a grand opening.
As for the Burbank Park Dog Park, McGrath said the $25,000 the city accepted from the Stanton Foundation is already being put to use and he has met with the design group to survey the site.

Tags: parks commission,   

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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.
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