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The Parks Commission is recommending an invasive weed removal project for Community Preservation Act funding.

Pittsfield Environmental Group Looks to Eradicate Invasive Kiwi

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The youth environmental group Greenagers hopes to secure Community Preservation Act funds to continue invasive kiwi control work at Burbank Park.
 
The Parks Commission voted Tuesday to move the Greenagers initiative to CPA project eligibility review.
 
"They want to continue the work that they have done already," Recreation Activities Coordinator Becky Manship said.
 
Manship had said at a prior meeting that there had not been enough information so it could not be grouped in with other possible projects at that time.
 
Both Greenagers and the Berkshire Environmental Action Team have worked on removing the invasive hardy kiwi that, according to the Massachusetts Audubon Society, can grow in closed-canopy forests, climb surrounding trees, and overwhelm vegetation.
 
The woody vine can grow more than 20 feet per year and it bears green, grape-shaped fruit. Ice and snow that accumulates on the vines can cause trees to snap.
 
Manship said the group in the past has eradicated a third of the largest "amphitheater" and has also targeted patches in the park.
 
She said if the plant is not kept in check it will spread to other parks.
 
"They noted that it is an emerging invasive species which means we have a very short window of opportunity to control it before it spreads to other parks," she said. "It is important work that they have been doing and would like to continue to do."
 
Manship said, to her knowledge, the plant has not yet spread to other parks.
 
The commission also approved two park event requests. One from Barrington Stage, which wants to do free performances at the Common throughout the summer.
 
The other request was for the 8th annual Sweltering Summer Ultramarathon at Clapp Park in August. 
 
"Last year, we had runners from three countries, 20 states, and right around 100 people," organizer Benjamin Griffin said. "They have eight hours to do as many laps as they want to do. I think the winner was right around 52 miles." 
 
He said they have raised more than $23,000 for Moments House, a local cancer charity, in the past.

Tags: CPA,   parks commission,   

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Pittsfield Police Chief Says Too Soon Assess Budget Cut Impact

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — It's only one month into the fiscal year so it's still not clear how cuts made to the city's police budget will play out. 
 
Police Chief Michael Wynn told the Police Advisory and Review Board that it is still too soon to tell how the reduced budget will affect operations.
 
"It is up in the air we really just got a budget past," Wynn said. "Operationally we really are just getting our feet under us."  
 
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