Richmond: Planner's mission, smoking regs, 'Welcome to Richmond' signage

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Regional planner's mission is to promote the town

Richmond is stepping up its efforts to attract new families, especially those with children who may attend the Richmond Consolidated School.

The point person for the marketing push is Laura Brennan, the full-time senior planner for community and economic development at the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission. A major portion of her job is to offer part-time economic planning help to four towns — Lanesborough, Hinsdale and Great Barrington, as well as Richmond, where she works 10 hours a month, on average.

Her one-year contract began last month, she said. Town leaders asked her to approach corporate recruiters and real estate agents in the county "to make sure Richmond was on their radar as a place to direct new residents coming in for jobs and relocating," said Brennan. "Word of mouth is important and we want to make sure that word of mouth is informed."

"The focus is on making people aware that Richmond Consolidated School is no longer easy to get into through the choice program," she explained, since most classroom slots in most grades are now filled by local residents' students.

"While property values are on the higher end in the context of our county, there are affordable homes in Richmond," Brennan pointed out, "as residents age out and move into assisted living facilities or whatever it may be."

Some homes in the $200,000 range have been sold over the past year, including properties at Richmond Shores. "There are certainly opportunities here for people to purchase affordable properties," said Town Administrator Mark Pruhenski. "But they go quickly."



Public hearing slated on no-smoking regulations

The Board of Health is preparing rules to ban smoking in the workplace, including anywhere municipal employees might be, such as town cemeteries, the school and the town beach. Complaints from families at Richmond Pond last summer about smokers triggered the drive for regulations on town property.

The regulations are similar to those already in place in Lee, Lenox, Stockbridge and Great Barrington. Health boards have the authority to adopt reasonable public health regulations.

The proposed rules, which could go into effect on April 1, will be aired at a public hearing on Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 6 p.m. in the Town Hall, 1529 State Road, according to Board of Health Chairwoman Louise Maron. Details of the regulations are posted on the town website, www.richmondma.org, and are available at the town clerk's office during normal business hours.



`Welcome to Richmond' signage expanded

The town recently installed new welcome signs for motorists entering on at least six local roads, such as Richmond Mountain Road coming out of Lenox. There has been a "mixed bag of comments" from the public, according to Town Administrator Mark Pruhenski. A resident intercepted him at the post office recently, complaining about the look of the signs, he said.

"As time went on, more and more people said they were glad we put the signs up," Pruhenski noted. "Some hadn't known where the town line was located." The state's large white signs remain on both ends of Route 41 and Route 295 from New York state.

Clarence Fanto can be reached at cfanto@yahoo.com or 413-637-2551.


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