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Mill Town expects to close on the former Lakeside Christian Camp and Berkshire West by the end of the year.

Mill Town Acquires Properties to Expand Bousquet Brand

Staff ReportsiBerkshires
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The historic Bousquet Mountain ski area will become a brand with the addition of two sister facilities. 
 
Local investment group Mill Town Capital is expanding Bousquet to two additional locations, creating a trifecta of outdoor and indoor recreation properties within five minutes of the ski area.
 
Mill Town on Friday announced it is acquiring Berkshire West Athletic Club across from Bousquet and the former Lakeside Christian Camp on Richmond Pond. Berkshire West will be renamed Bousquet Sport and Lakeside Christian Camp will be known as The Camp by Bousquet. It anticipates closing on both properties by the end of the year.
 
These three properties will offer diverse, year-round amenities that include outdoor recreation, indoor athletics training, water sports, and lodging under the Bousquet brand.
 
"We're excited to add these two significant properties to our portfolio of key regional assets," Mill Town CEO Tim Burke wrote in a press release. "Outdoor recreation is a critical differentiator for Pittsfield and the Berkshires, and we plan to cohesively connect the Camp and Berkshire West with Bousquet Mountain to create a high quality and diverse recreational experience. This will increase and improve options for local customers and will help draw new outdoor enthusiasts to the area,” 
 
The transaction of two additional properties is scheduled to close before the end of 2020.
 
This expansion is part of Mill Town's Berkshire County Outdoor Recreation Plan in conjunction with the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission that was announced earlier this year. The plan outlines the existing outdoor recreation landscape of the Berkshires and gives recommendations for growth in key areas.
 
Laura Brennan, a BRPC senior planner and lead author of the plan, believes this comprehensive, interconnected approach will be a game-changer for multi-season, repeat visits from outdoor recreation enthusiasts to the Berkshires.
 
Mill Town purchased Bousquet Mountain Ski this past May and opened the mountain for skiing this month.
 
The ski area purchase included 155 acres across four parcels that included the summit of Yokun Ridge and 22 hiking trails. With the purchase of Berkshire West and the camp, the Bousquet umbrella will cover nearly 300 acres of recreational offerings to for the community.
 
Berkshire West Athletic Club is a multipurpose 40,000-square-foot facility and sits right across the street from Bousquet on Dan Fox Drive. The club is located on 13 acres and includes indoor tennis courts and a covered pool. The facility offers tennis, fitness, a golf simulator, yoga, and water classes, which Mill Town plans to expand and offer additional programming and amenities such as food & beverage, classes, extended trail connections, and retail space.
 
The former camp is a 135-acre parcel with 27 structures and five acres of land on Richmond Pond that shut down early this year. As The Camp by Bousquet, it will offer hiking, biking, kayaking, and canoeing and will house lodging, events, and a variety of programming. Mill Town plans to use the property in 2021 while master planning for the site is completed.
 
Mill Town Managing Director Carrie Holland explained that the investment group has taken the last three years to understand the landscapes of outdoor recreation across the Berkshires and evaluate them for strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities to improve them. Mill Town hopes to help elevate the region as a leader in the outdoor community at a national level.
 
"Thinking of the three properties as a linked hub highlights the Bousquet area as a year-round destination serving a wide array of interests," Holland wrote. "Guests will have options to sleep, dine, and get outside in one connected area."
 
Between these three properties, Mill Town expects to provide year-round programming. Winter offerings will include downhill skiing, snowboarding, tubing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and ice sports at Bousquet and the Camp. Summer activities at these locations will include hiking, mountain biking, paddle sports, swimming, and other water activities. Indoor programming will be available year-round at Bousquet Sport.
 
Mill Town has been working with city of Pittsfield and wider Berkshire County on community involvement and revitalization. These include partnering with Pittsfield and youth program Greenagers to rehabilitate and program the trail networks at Springside Park.  
 
The investment group has also supported the Berkshire Natural Resources Council "High Road" and Berkshire Trails App projects, provided funding for the completion of the county's first public turf sports field at Berkshire Community College, launched the Berkshire County Outdoor Recreation Summit collaborative, and has initiated three trail-building connection projects in central Berkshire.

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West Side Residents Build Ideal Neighborhood At Zoning Session

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

Program manager James McGrath opens the session at Conte Community School.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Residents mapped out a West Side they would like to see during an input session this week, utilizing multi-use properties to create robust density.

Held at Conte Community School on Monday, this was the second meeting of a project to examine zoning in the neighborhood. The Department of Community Development, in partnership with Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity, has been working with an urban planning and design consulting team on the effort that will conclude on June 30.

"This is a really important project for your neighborhood," Park, Open Space, and Natural Resource Program Manager James McGrath said.

Multifamily houses with spaces to accommodate a small business were popular. A community center, church, year-round farmer's market, and even a place to draw in commerce appeared as elements on the tabletop street.

An emphasis was also placed on the amount of immigrants coming to the area in need of housing.

Max Douhoure, community outreach coordinator for Habitat, explained that he grew up in Africa where people liked to live together, which his build reflected.

"I wanted to improve their conditions," he said. "That’s what I did."

During the first meeting in November, the team heard desires for businesses and commercial uses — including a need for small, family-owned business support. The session provided an overview of what zoning is, what zoning can and can't do, how zoning can improve the community, and the impact on residents.

"Today's exercise is really about creating spaces in buildings and on properties to do a combination of residential [uses] that meet the needs and commercial uses that meet the needs of the neighborhood,"  Emily Keys Innes, principal of Innes Associates explained.

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