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.
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Williamstown Planning Board Appoints Master Plan Steering Committee
By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Planning Board on Tuesday appointed nine residents to serve on the steering committee to draft the town's updated master plan.
By a unanimous vote, the board approved a slate of nine candidates selected by members Peter Beck and Stephanie Boyd, who will represent the elected board on the steering committee. That panel is expected to work over the next 18 months to update the planning document last drafted in 2002.
Approved for inclusion on the Master Plan Steering Committee on Tuesday were: Justin Adkins, Susan Briggs, Melissa Cragg, Don Dubendorf, Sarah Gardner, Daniel Gura, Susan Puddester, Tanja Srebotnjak and Huff Templeton.
"With Peter and I, that makes 11 members," Boyd said. In a meeting telecast on the town's community access television station, Willinet. "A couple of months ago, we said we'd aim for eight to 12. This is on the higher end of that.
The regional school committee last Thursday heard preliminary enrollment data for its three schools. Although the official date to report a head count to the state comes on Oct. 1, the early numbers show significant increases at Lanesborough Elementary and Williamstown Elementary.
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The board met with a single-item agenda to consider its course in light of last week's directive issued by the Lee-Lenox-Stockbridge Tri-Town Health Department, which instituted a mask mandate for all indoor spaces and "crowded outdoor public events."
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On a vote of 5-2, the committee decided to direct the district's administration to have its architect finalize bid documents and conduct cost estimates in anticipation of putting to bid later this fall a project to install a synthetic multi-sport field and a track on the Cold Spring Road campus.
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The presentations at Richard A. Reuther Post 152 American Legion included a certificate of appreciation for each veteran's service and a unique handmade quilt and pillow case to store it.
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Winters kicked off the board's 2021-22 meeting cycle with a "maverick" proposal to slash the current code's requirements for frontage, setbacks and lot size in the residential districts in an effort to increase the number of available lots and, he hopes, increase the housing stock in an effort to... click for more