Photo Gallery | Annual Springside Park Cleanup
PITTSFIELD — A dozen people descended on Springside Park in "cold and blustery" conditions to ultimately retrieve and remove a dump truck full of "very heavy and nasty junk" on Saturday.
It marked the second time this year volunteers gathered to freshen up the 250-acre park stretching from Springside Avenue all the way to Crane Avenue in order to tidy up.
Usually, an annual cleaning occurs in spring. Saturday's event represented an extra journey.
"The consistency of these park cleanups and the work of these volunteers has really made a difference in the park," James McGrath, Pittsfield's parks and open space manager, said. "At any given one of these recent cleanups, there's been less trash to be found."
Still, there was no shortage of things needing removal Saturday, as volunteers busied themselves from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Televisions, car tires, copious numbers of liquor and beer bottles, beams and pipes, sections of fence and much more comprised the total take.
One learns going for the cleanup too, noted Mark Tully, owner of Berkshire Bike and Board in Pittsfield.
"The vodka of choice is Rubel's," Tully said. "Joking aside, it was less than the average load and the we've brought awareness to the park and gotten to know the hot spots."
A primary hot spot for garbage is located right off Rotary Park and a second deeper into the park near the Indian seat rock, Tully said.
Participants in the cleanup also noted the discovery of several campsites, tents and lean-tos — "sad discoveries" meaning poverty stricken individuals sometimes find themselves living there among the trees.
"As we discover these we certainly reach out to the appropriate city agencies and try to locate those individuals and get them the assistance they need," McGrath said.
The aggressive cleanup schedule this year provides real value to the park, which McGrath called a key city asset.
"It draws people in," he said. "When people go to events there, they discover how wonderful it is and want to keep coming back. Springside Park offers the people of Pittsfield an opportunity to engage with the outdoors right near the downtown."
Other volunteers hailed from local environmental groups and Friends of Springside Park. The next cleanup will occur in the spring.