PITTSFIELD -- Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi is seeking authority from the City Council to amend the agreement that has transferred former GE property in the vicinity of Silver Lake to the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority.

The revised agreement is expected to help clear the way for development and maintenance of a walkway around the lake.

Bianchi said the city and PEDA want to amend the 15-year-old agreement that began to transfer 52 acres of former GE industrial land off East Street to the authority so that it could be marketed for new industrial, commercial or other uses. PEDA, a quasi-public entity created by a special act of the state Legislature, now oversees the William Stanley Business Park of the Berkshires on the former GE property.

Under the original agreement, GE was responsible for cleaning up hazardous chemicals and materials on the properties -- including GE's former Power Transformer facility site -- and for continued monitoring under the direction of federal and state environmental agencies.

"We are in the process of amending the DEDA (Definitive Economic Development Agreement)," said Corydon Thurston, the executive director of PEDA.

The parcels to be transferred to PEDA as part of the amendment, which include some GE property and some privately owned land, are around Silver Lake. One parcel extends in front of the MountainOne Financial Services parcel, which is within the business park.

The land around the lake was originally thought to be owned by the city, Thurston said, but title searches showed that was not the case.

He said a formal amendment of the original transfer agreement now is necessary to ensure the protections against liability for waste cleanup or monitoring covers the newly acquired land as well.

Bianchi also is seeking authorization to conclude easements to allow the city to maintain recreational development areas on land controlled by PEDA or by GE.

Thurston has said that GE has agreed to create a recreational trail for the city around the lake after remediating chemical contamination in the lake and along the shoreline.

Bianchi is submitting the proposed agreements to the council for its meeting Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall.

To reach Jim Therrien:
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