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Melissa and Kenneth Fawcett have opened Ready Set Play, an indoor playground, in the former Retro Fitness on Merrill Road.

Ready Set Play Opens in Pittsfield

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
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Read Set Play is recommended for ages 1 to 12. The Fawcetts say it's an opportunity for youngsters to release some energy in a safe environment. 
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Preschool operators Melissa and Kenneth Fawcett are embarking on a new adventure in opening an indoor playground on Merrill Road. 
The Fawcetts opened the Ready Set Learn preschool eight years ago in Dalton and, last week, opened Ready Set Play for young children. 
"I feel like for both businesses Ready Set Learn, Ready Set Play, we're just really trying to bring something better to the Berkshires," Melissa Fawcett said. 
"Our preschool was voted Best in the Berkshires last year. We're hoping to be again this year. And we just really try hard to make sure we're bringing quality, quality product."
Fawcett is constantly juggling new ideas and discussing them with her husband. She opened her preschool after not finding a program she liked for her son.
Taking from her 10 years experience working in the Pittsfield Public Schools, Fawcett said her preschool combines the good aspects she found touring other preschools with her own program. 
The idea to open a indoor playground started out as a conversation between the couple and their patrons at Ready Set Learn. 
They heard parents saying how there wasn't anything to do in the Berkshires for children. They actively started to pursue the goal about a year in a half ago. 
Schoolchildren have gym and about 20 minutes of recess a day but that is not enough to relieve their energy, Fawcett said.
"Being able to move their bodies is something that I think is lacking in the Berkshires, unless you're on a sports team so I think this will get even kids that maybe aren't interested in playing soccer or interested in playing football or whatever, a place to go run around and play," she said.
Having a place like this in the Berkshires is great because it keeps residents in the area and relieves strain put on parents who commute to indoor parks outside the area, the couple said.
"You know, to go out of the area, it can be an hour, it could be a couple hours. I mean, they could go here in the morning, go home, have lunch and come back in the afternoon, and make it home for dinner," said Kenneth Fawcett said.
"And, it's a less of an expense and less of tax on the families in Berkshire County to have something like this in their own back yard."
Melissa Fawcett said having a space like this is very convenient in the winter months because it allows children who are not interested in winter sports to exert their energy. 
A major obstacle that they ran into was finding a large retail space. They were always a "little behind the curve" when locating a place.
So they immediately reached out to the property manager when they saw Retro Fitness in the Shops at Unkamet was closing and took over that space in July. 
They ordered the playground in June even before signing signing the lease but because of shipping delays, the playground equipment did not arrive until August. 
The Fawcetts and family members helped unload the trucks because the playground installers had not started yet.
The playground opened last Saturday night to a bunch of excited kids, including some of the Fawcetts former preschoolers. 
Melissa Fawcett said many parents told her how they really like that the space is closer than other indoor parks and has smaller footprint so they do not have to chase their children around a big chaotic playground. 
Families interested in taking their children to indoor playgrounds like Billy Beez and the trampoline park have to drive out to New York State or to Holyoke. 
The Fawcetts said it is very important to ensure the children's experience is safe, especially post-COVID-19. The space is wiped down and sanitized daily with a disinfectant fogging machine, including using a ball pit cleaning machine that vacuums up the balls to disinfect them. 
Cost of admission for the day for children between the ages 1 and 17 is $17.95, although the recommended ages are 2 to 12. Adults are $3.95, and infants and seniors are free. Families are allowed to leave the playground and return that same day with no added cost as long as they are still wearing the wristband. 
The playground also offers a 10-ticket children's package for $150. 
More information on Ready Set Play here

Tags: new business,   playgrounds,   

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Pittsfield Little League 11s, 10s See Tourney Runs End

By Leland Sports
PITTSFIELD , Mass. — After a strong outing by pitcher Cam Ginnity, the Holden Little League 11-year-old All-Stars defeated Pittsfield, 15-1, to move on in the Section 1 tournament on Sunday at Deming Park
Each team went into the elimination game with a 1-1 record.
Holden’s offense sparked early in the game with a series of walks finished off by a two-RBI single by Cole Pare, and a run scored on a passed ball.
During the game Pittsfields Offense struggled heavily against Ginnity
He registered five total strikeouts as well as going the distance in the run-rule win.
“Cam [Ginnity] is one of our better pitchers, he also has a really good team of players behind him,” Holden coach Matt Gull said.
Offensively, Holden’s Evan Zaccaria went 2-for-2 with a double, single and a walk.
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