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Mill Town Capital's Managing Director Caroline Holland explains plans for a former camp on Richmond Pond, one of three recreational venues the firm is investing in, at last week's Conservation Commission meeting.

Mill Town Moves Forward With Overhauls of Three Recreational Facilities

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Mill Town Capital is moving forward with its overhauls of Bousquet Ski Area, the former Berkshire West, and the former Lakeside Christian Camp.

Managing Director Caroline Holland stood in front of the Conservation Commission on Thursday with a notice of intent application for improvements to the camp located at 195 Cloverdale St.

The investment firm is proposing to create and update a variety of athletic fields that fall within the inland bank and regular buffer zones, warranting ConCom approval.

The commission agreed to continue the application and schedule a public site visit on Oct. 15 at 3 p.m. after abutters attended the meeting with questions about the site work.

"There's an existing set of amenities and infrastructure there at the camp, in essence, we are revitalizing the existing components, there is a soccer field, where we want to improve the fields, there is a clear field where we're interested in playing softball and baseball fields. The weeds are coming up, but it's still a clear space," Holland explained.

"There's a basketball court, and some other playing fields that were actually covered, some clay courts, we're interested in some tennis courts, and there's a parking lot where we're interested in basketball courts, so a lot of these areas that we're focused on already sort of had past utilization along those recreation uses, and we've been investing in the last couple of months to get a really good understanding of the property."

The property consists of 135 acres with waterfront streams and wetlands. Holland said there is "a lot going on on the property."

Mill Town purchased the former camp in December 2020 and it is part of a trifecta of outdoor recreation facilities the firm has invested in. The other components are Bousquet and the former Berkshire West gym.

"We welcome the public onto the site a few times for some tours, so we're definitely interested in keeping this transparent and doing right," Holland added. "We want to be good stewards of the property."

Architect with SLR Consulting Mark Arigoni explained that there are no areas within the proposal that trigger the state's Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program that protects hundreds of species that are not hunted, fished, trapped, or commercially harvested in the state.

He also said the project is outside of the Federal Emergency Management Agency 100-year floodplain but nicks the corner of the 500-year floodplain.

"Important note we have no direct wetland impacts, and we have no impacts within the riverfront area," Arigoni added. "We pay close attention, and really did not want to have any impacts."  

For runoff water mitigation, a shallow 18-inch basin and drain pipe system will be constructed to handle groundwater.

South Pond Farm Condominium Trust Chairman Steven Schnoll attended the meeting to communicate that the trust is excited to have the camp as neighbors but has concerns about the natural vegetation surrounding the area.

"We have a great deal of natural greenery that buffers, our property from the candle, and it's been one of the great natural resources that Southland farm has had for the 35 years we've been there," he said.

"So we really didn't quite understand what that means, particularly where the basketball courts are going, because there are the basketball courts are like 20 feet from our property line, and there's a slope that comes down there, and water runs off there and they have a drainage right by the Lakeside Drive, so it's just very confusing to us as to what's happening with what the natural vegetation that's there."

Schnoll said the group's biggest concern and area of confusion is the 100-foot buffer area.

Arigoni said he completely understands the confusion and Holland assured him that the developers are keeping security and privacy as a high priority.

They hope that these questions will be cleared up during the site visit on Oct. 15.

In this meeting, the Mill Town Foundation also sought a request for determination of applicability (RDA) for the renovation of existing tennis courts on property located at 100 Dan Fox Drive, which was formerly known as Berkshire West and is now renamed Bousquet Sports.

These activities are proposed to occur within the buffer zone associated with bordering vegetated wetlands and the inland bank.

The RDA was issued a negative determination with a special condition that all buried conduits are to be directionally drilled underneath the regulated waterways and wetlands.

On Thursday, Bousquet posted three photos on Facebook that included a nearly finished ski lodge.

To bring the building up to code, Mill Town had to rebuild it. The former lodge was demolished in April.

The caption on the post read: "Heated walkways, exposed trusses and topsoil and we're still on schedule! So much to look forward to."

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BCC Sees Increase in Enrollment Count

PITTSFIELD, Mass — Berkshire Community College (BCC) recently released its enrollment data for fall 2021 — a season still  impacted by COVID-19, but with a growing number of first-year and continuing students. 
 Key findings include: 
  • Overall enrollment is up 1.4 percent over 2020 
  • The first-year student population is up 16.4 percent 
  • Continuing students are up 3.9 percent 
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  • Readmitted students (those who leave college for less than a year and reapply) are down 27.27 percent
The number of non-degree-seeking students has also grown, largely due to BCC's Early College program, which offers up to 15 free college credits to high school juniors and seniors. BCC has increased the number eligible students for the program.  
"I'm thrilled that our new student and continuing student numbers are up. The BCC team has worked so hard to create an environment during the pandemic in which students could continue to thrive," said Adam Klepetar, BCC Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. "We continue to operate successfully in a very challenging enrollment environment, with decreases in the number of high school graduates and increases in competition." 
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