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4-21-2019

Hey there, readers. Amanda here.

The mayoral campaign field is growing as retired Pittsfield police officer Karen Kalinowsky joins the race, squaring off against Mayor Linda Tyer, Craig Gaetani and Scott Graves.

Former city councilor Joseph C. Nichols is also positioning himself for a run in Ward 6 after sitting Councilor John Krol announced his plans to step down. In that race, he joins Ed Carmel and Gaetani.

Still no word from Councilor At Large Melissa Mazzeo about her plans for November.

Tyer will bring a revised version of her At Home in Pittsfield initiative back to the City Council on Tuesday. The proposal would give zero-interest loans to residents looking to spruce up the exterior of their homes, and at issue is whether councilors will authorize Tyer to use $250,000 from the city’s General Electric Co. Economic Development Fund to fuel the program.

Councilors took issue with several points in the original proposal, and since then Tyer made some notable changes. The new proposal would be available citywide at the same funding level — the city would not give those in West Side and Morningside neighborhoods higher loans for less effort — and the loans will no longer be forgivable.

Applicants must have owned their home for at least two years under the new proposal, which also applies stricter salary restrictions.

On the school front

On Wednesday, the School Committee is scheduled to take a vote on the schools budget as proposed by Superintendent Jason McCandless, who reined in his original spending plan earlier this month after talks with the mayor. The City Council will need to give ultimate approval of the schools budget in May.

The committee will also discuss how to handle a racially insensitive MCAS question that the state is grappling with, and what it might mean for Pittsfield students who already encountered the offending question.

The Berkshire Community College Board of Trustees meets Tuesday amid ongoing challenges with its nursing program. The college is also working to rearrange its staffing and non-credit programming following the sudden passing of Charlie Kaminski, the dean charged with that planned shift.

Pickleball, parks and resources

The Community Preservation Committee begins deliberating Monday on how to spend up to $600,000 in community preservation funds. Among the 14 projects in the running are the major overhaul planned for the Berkshire Family YMCA and a controversial pickleball project proposed for Springside Park.

The committee will hear from the public during the meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. in council chambers.

On Tuesday, the City Council will consider a request from Tyer to release $325,000 more in funds for planned improvements to Clapp Park. The city has already lined up a $400,000 state grant and other funding sources to bring changes to the park, including installation of a splash pad, improvements to the playground baseball field andbasketball court, and a new restroom facility.

Work toward removing the Mill Street Dam is advancing, and the city is busily obtaining final approvals before tearing down the blighted structure. The Conservation Commission will review the plans during its meeting on Thursday.

Earthly heads up

The city will begin the process of flushing out water mains this week, which could result in periods of low water pressure or discolored water.

The Berkshire Athenaeum will collect old tech this week in honor of Earth Day, television sets excluded. Staff will accept items during regular library hours.

And want to help clean up stray trash and get your workout in at the same time? There will be a “plogging” event in Morningside on Saturday, kicking off at 9 a.m. at Morningside Community School. 

What’s up in Pittsfield? Tell me via email at adrane@berkshireeagle.com, or by phone at 413-496-6296. Follow me on Twitter @amandadrane.

 
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