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Photos of recreational area mats that the city of Newton submitted to the Architectural Access Board.

Dalton ADA Committee Considers Playground Mats for Parks

By Sabrina DammsiBerkshires Staff
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The mats are attached to the ground through pins and nubs. 
DALTON, Mass. — The Americans with Disabilities Act Committee is exploring adding playground mats to town parks. 
These mats would be laid out to provide accessible routes to playground equipment and swings.
ADA coordinator Alyssa Maschino heard about these mats while attending an Advanced Community Access Monitor Training. 
"[The state Division of Professional Licensure Office of Public Safety and Inspections Architectural Access Board] brought this up which I thought was very clever," Maschino said. 
"It's like a rubber matting system, which is very inexpensive compared to paving a pathway in the parks." 
The mats are fixed to the ground using pins and nubs. They are also secured to play equipment and swing sets using plastic stakes and stainless steel pins. The mats are connected to each other using zip ties. The mats are "relatively" quick to install and easy to maintain and repair. 
Newton paid approximately $3,000 to cover the costs of the mats at one of its parks but it looks like they did quite a bit, Maschino said. 
"Anything we can do to accentuate the beautiful parks we have and to make Dalton a more enjoyable, livable, accessible place," committee member Lyn Clements said. 
"It not only makes it easier for those children and adults who already live here. It makes us more attractive to diversify our community more and I think that's a great thing." 
These mats could also help in case the town considers investing in an ADA swing so disabled children can also enjoy the town parks, similar to Springside Park, Maschino said. 
The Green Committee is going to need something like this because it is putting electric vehicle chargers at Pine Grove Park, committee member David Wasielewski said. Wasielewski also serves as the town's Green Committee chair. 
"We're gonna need something to stabilize that area as well and make it accessible," he said. 
Maschino is currently in communication with Highway Superintendent Edward "Bud" Hall to gauge his interest. 

Tags: ADA,   playgrounds,   

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SolaBlock Awarded State Grant

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Healey-Driscoll administration awarded SolaBlock  $204,835 to construct automated and modularized systems to build its Solar Masonry Units, which embed solar photovoltaics directly into a standard cement block. 
SolaBlock will partner with the Berkshire Innovation Center (BIC) to make the test chamber available to other members of the BIC. SolaBlock plans to add 17 new jobs with this grant investment. This project is aligned with the Manufacturing USA Institute CESMII.
The Healey-Driscoll administration announced $10,280,407 in grants to 13 companies to support sustainable alternatives to traditional manufacturing through the Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M2I2), a program through MassTech Collaborative's (MassTech) Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CAM) that bridges the gap between innovation and commercialization by providing capital grants and supporting pioneering projects in emerging industries.
The Administration announced the grants during an event with Secretary of Economic Development Yvonne Hao and MassTech at Clean Crop Technologies in Holyoke, which is receiving a $1.2 million M2I2 grant to validate its innovative technology that removes contaminants from crops using less energy. This round of grants will support companies in key industries such as climate tech, bioindustrial manufacturing, and recyclable materials, and create an estimated 230 jobs.
"Massachusetts is home to the world's leading innovation economy thanks to our trailblazing manufacturing companies, cutting-edge universities and top talent," said Governor Maura Healey. "We are committed to investing in the pioneering R&D and infrastructure necessary to help our state maintain its status as a place where groundbreaking ideas translate to real-world solutions through programs like M2I2. We are pleased this round of grants will help fund sustainable innovations in the manufacturing industry."
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