Pittsfield OKs renaming Highland Park after Christopher R. Porter


PITTSFIELD >> Highland Park is now Christopher R. Porter Memorial Park.

Nearly a year after Porter's death, the city Parks Commission on Tuesday night agreed to the name change, which has been in the works for months.

The five commissioners' unanimous approval came following a brief public hearing, but was a foregone conclusion as the panel gave a preliminary OK to the proposal last month.

On Sept. 20, Porter supporters packed the City Council chambers, led by Dick Rivers, who presented the commission with a petition of some 700 signatures of people favoring the name change.

On Tuesday, Ron Plankey, a 60-year resident of Highland Avenue, not only backed Porter Park, but was pleased a citizens committee also was working to spruce up the park.

"I'm so happy someone is getting involved," Plankey said of the park's condition. "It's gone to heck."

The committee is raising money to replace the Highland Park fence before the end of the year and, next spring, to install new playground equipment, add picnic tables to the upper and lower fields, along with upkeep as needed.

"We've already raised $4,000 in a heartbeat," said Gerald Lee. "It's going to be one of the nicest parks in the city."

Porter was 54 when he died while hunting last December. A 1979 graduate of Taconic High School, Porter was an avid hunter and fisherman who was named 2016 Pittsfield Sportsman of the Year.

Since founding his contracting business in 2001, he and his business — almost always without fanfare — donated $100,000 to some 100 youth, health and cultural-based organizations, as well as religious, public safety and animal advocacy groups.

Porter also helped maintain Highland Park and the surrounding area. His company's handiwork includes the completion of the Doyle Softball Complex on Benedict Road and the development of the strip mall at the corner of Highland Avenue and Pecks Road.

Contact Dick Lindsay at (413) 496-6233.


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