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Pittsfield Parks Commission Approves Sign Policy, Events
By Brittany Polito, iBerkshires Staff
12:00PM / Thursday, October 20, 2022
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Artwork and readings that address street harassment were displayed at Park Square earlier this year in observance of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Art installations are not listed as being restricted in the policy.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The Parks Commission approved three events and a new sign policy on Tuesday during a swift, 30-minute meeting.

The policy aims to address signage only in Park Square.  

It states that signage or displays related to event promotion, solicitation, or advertising are not permitted.  Additionally, all installations and signage placed in the park are done under the commission's authority, which will review and vote on them.

"The thought was to keep it limited to Park Square, this policy specifically to Park Square," said Commissioner Anthony DiMartino, who drafted it.  "Give us and reinforce that the commission has the jurisdiction over anything that goes in there and that specifically speaks to signage that would not be allowed."

Last month, the panel discussed a possible policy and motioned to draft one.  Some commissioners agreed that signs should be kept out of Park Square with exceptions such as art installations with signage.

Park, Open Space, and Natural Resource Program Manager James McGrath noted that all proposals first come before city staff, and it would be helpful to have a set policy to reference when talking to applicants.

McGrath said that it is clear and gives the commission discretion.

"It sort of allows you to circle back around and consider something that's maybe advertising. If it's this acceptable idea that is community supported and more importantly, commissioned supported, it gives you an opportunity to weigh in on it," he added.

The third annual Dave Zerbato Memorial Wiffle Ball Tournament was approved for Nov. 5 at Deming Park from noon to 4:30 p.m.  All proceeds will go towards scholarships for graduating seniors at Pittsfield High School and Taconic High School in honor of the late Dave Zerbato.
"We started this back in 2017, that's when Dave passed away suddenly. Dave was a mentor and a friend of mine and at first, he wanted to do something to give back to the family to help cover some medical bills so we had an event. We had a skills competition down at Demming, raised some money we gave all the proceeds to the family," event producer Justin Hopkins said.

"And then the next year we added on to that and we started a scholarship in his name. So since 2018, we've handed out about 15 scholarships, close to $7,000 in scholarships.  Each year, we award them to graduating seniors from Pittsfield and Taconic High School. And this is our big fundraiser we hold every year this is going to be the third world wiffle ball tournament we have.  Last year we had about 20 teams show up and we doubled our profits from the year before, so we're really excited about that."

The event consists of four different age groups, a raffle, and will have pizza provided by Papa John's.

Hopkins said that giving back to the community was important to Zerbato as well as bringing kids together, playing baseball, and having a good time.

The Berkshire Pride Parade and Festival was approved for June 3 at The Common from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.  This will be the sixth year of the event, which is Berkshire Pride's annual LGBTQ+ festival.  

The family-friendly event will feature live entertainment, speakers, food trucks, and other vendors.

Hundreds gathered along Eagle Street and Fenn Street and applauded the parade during the 2022 Berkshire Pride festival.

A Halloween Skate Jam hosted by The Garden was approved for Oct. 29 at the skate park on East Street.  There will be prizes, giveaways, and music through a PA system.

Commissioners asked the skate shop's owner Bill Whittaker how the park has been since it was expanded.

"It's been really, really great," he said.

"We've seen people coming in from all over using the park.  People are coming from far just to skate it and we've got some plans for future projects down there too, so looking forward to doing more, just continuing making it better down there and moving forward."
In other news:

  • It was reported that a boat wash station proposal for Community Preservation Act funds has been scaled down to a portable diesel-powered wash.  It was found that there are only about six boats per year that come to the boat ramp infested with zebra mussels.  The original proposal was going to cost over $250,000 and this one will cost about $75,000 with a CPA ask of $60,000 if deemed eligible.
  • Two historic stone piers at Springside Park will be subject to a CPA application.  They sit at the southwest corner of the park across from the intersection of Weller Avenue and need to be repaired and cleaned.  McGrath will meet with a mason to determine the cost of the repair.
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