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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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Mount Greylock Interim Superintendent: Health Plays 'Highest Role' in Reopening Plan

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires Staff

Amie Hane, chair of the school district's special Parent Advisory Council, addresses the School Committee on Thursday evening.
 
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Mount Greylock Regional School District officials Thursday sought to allay fears that the district's schools will reopen under any scenario where safety is not the first priority.
 
Interim Superintendent Robert Putnam walked the School Committee through the administration's planning process for the start of school in September during the body's Zoom-based meeting.
 
"First off, we want to make sure that medical and health play the highest role in our decisions," Putnam said. "We are committed to protecting anyone with comorbidities. We are committed to, basically, creating the conditions for and ensuring that there is social distancing that protects staff and students alike. We are committed to creating a norm of mask-wearing and hand-washing.
 
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