Monday September 24, 2012

LENOX -- Caretakers and devotees of Kennedy Park turned out in force at a Select Board meeting for a decision on new blood for the volunteer committee that oversees and maintains the greenspace.

Following interviews and a discussion with two candidates for the Kennedy Park Committee opening, the Select Board unanimously chose Andrew J. Breslin, 30-year resident and owner of South Street Veterinary Service in Pittsfield for the post recently vacated by Rob Akroyd of Greylock Design Associates.

A frequent user of the park, Breslin said: "For me, it’s always been like a golfer living on the 17th hole. I’ve taken a lot from the park, I thought it was about time I could give a little something back to the town and to the park."

He recounted a time when he stopped his bike to thank a volunteer for helping clean up the park but was politely urged to stop riding and pitch in.

"Everybody works together," he observed. "There’s a harmony within the park that doesn’t have to be enforced with a whole lot of rules and signs. It’s a park everybody uses quite well and I would be happy to be a part of keeping it the way it is and keeping it usable."

Candidate Sonya Bykofsky, a community activist and massage therapist, told Select Board members at the Sept. 19 meeting, "I also love the park, I’m probably there just about every day. ... I help with the general maintenance as much as I can."

"I think it’s really important to protect this natural resource, it’s one of the most treasured things we have in this town," said Bykofsky, who has led a lawsuit filed against the town by 20 citizens seeking removal of the controversial Kennedy Park Belvedere.

"I just want to say, I’ve done a lot of things over the last year in regard to Kennedy Park that are all about protecting the park," she added. "My motivations for involvement in community activities have been driven by that desire, you can call me a tree-hugger if you wish, but I’m OK with that because I realize that once something’s gone, like natural resources, they’re gone for good."

If chosen, Bykofsky said, she would seek to follow open meeting laws that are set by the town and the state.

A third candidate who submitted paperwork for the opening, former Morris Elementary School Principal Robert Vaughan, did not appear for the interview with the Selectmen.

Several Kennedy Park committee members attended the meeting -- one of them, Ruth Wheeler, spoke up in support of Breslin’s candidacy. The committee meets twice a year and convenes additional sessions as needed, but its emphasis is on many hours of volunteer services to maintain the park.

"That to me is the heart and soul of the committee, it’s not a couple of formal meetings, it’s a show of love, really," said the group’s chairman and 36-year member, Robert Coakley.

To contact Clarence Fanto:
cfanto@berkshireeagle.com
or (413) 496-6247.
On Twitter: @BE_cfanto.