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The pond at Margaret Lindley Park remains unfilled as of Sunday.

Williamstown Continuing To Hold Off on Filling Swimming Hole

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — A popular town-owned swimming hole remains dry as officials await updated guidance from the commonwealth on public beaches.
 
The pond at Margaret Lindley Park, which is drained each fall to prevent ice damage to the dam at the east end, was not filled this spring because of the closures of outdoor recreation areas due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Although beaches like the one at the park now are allowed to operate during Phase 2 of the commonwealth's reopening plan, the town does not think the park near the junction of Routes 2 and 7 is large enough to allow adequate social distancing.
 
"The beach guidance right now requires 12 feet between beach going parties," Williamstown Community Development Director Andrew Groff said. "We didn't think we had enough beach to effectively meet that requirement and are waiting for it to be resolved."
 
In addition to the impact of the novel coronavirus on crowd sizes, an additional factor has entered the mix.
 
The pond at Margaret Lindley Park is fed by Hemlock Brook, which, like most area streams, is running lower than usual during a particularly dry spring.
 
According to the National Weather Service's preliminary data for Pittsfield, the area has recieved 1.09 inches of rain so far in June, a departure of 2.27 inches from the normal amount of precipitation for the period.
 
May's Pittsfield total of 1.62 inches of rain was 2.59 inches below the "normal" level of 4.21 inches.
 
While the pond is dry, the park remains open for hiking. 

Tags: lakes, ponds,   swimming,   

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Williamstown Select Board Recommends Social Justice Articles to Town Meeting

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Select Board on Monday recommended to town meeting passage of two warrant articles designed to address issues of racial equity and diversity after reconsidering an earlier decision to make no recommendation on one of the measures.
 
The last two items on the 37-article warrant for Aug. 18's outdoor annual town meeting at Weston Field were generated by way of citizen's petition.
 
The first asks town meeting voters to commit to the "Not In Our County Pledge" generated by the Great Barrington-based group Multicultural BRIDGE. The second, titled "Equity," calls on all agencies and committees of town government to re-examine their policies, demands the town train board members and employees about issues of systemic inequities and requires quarterly reports on these issues to the recently formed Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Equity (DIRE) Committee.
 
Board members expressed support for the intent of both articles but raised technical issues about each, though the panel took no action on the warrant's final measure, the Equity article, before Chair Jane Patton realized there were members of the audience who wanted to speak to the articles from the "floor" of the remote meeting.
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