Look Ahead, Pittsfield: Election papers; mosquitoes; police panel's 1st meeting

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Warmer weather is seeping in, meaning our city is budding with political promise and a less-welcome springtime swarm: mosquitoes.

Chris Horton, superintendent of the Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project, will present his pest control plan for the upcoming season to the city's Board of Health this week. The plan requires approval from the board, which meets 6 p.m. Wednesday in City Hall room 203.

Some of the project's mosquito mitigation measures drew opposition from residents last year who voiced concerns over chemical sprays. The City Council took a closer look at the practices and voted to limit spray to the times when the Board of Health deems it necessary.

On Tuesday, election papers become available and Mayor Linda Tyer, who announced her re-election bid last week, might just be the first in line. She plans to pull her nomination papers at 8:45 a.m.

There's already been activity on the City Council front, with longtime Councilors Tony Simonelli and John Krol announcing their plans to step down. All the rest so far — save Councilor at Large Melissa Mazzeo and Ward 4 Councilor Chris Connell — have signaled intentions to keep their current seats.

This week the city launches a new platform for police accountability and engagement in the form of the newly appointed Police Advisory and Review Board. Under a new ordinance forming the board, its members are tasked with reviewing complaints against the Pittsfield Police Department upon completion of an internal investigation and making policy recommendations.

The inaugural meeting starts 4 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall room 203.

Garage coming down, community projects

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The Columbus Avenue parking garage is coming down this week. While the construction project is slated for June completion, the official takedown of the decades-old structure begins around 8 a.m. Thursday.

The Community Preservation Committee will begin hearing project presentations this week from those seeking financial support under the Community Preservation Act, which will infuse the chosen projects with up to $600,000 in funds. There are 14 projects in the running, including the planned $5 million overhaul to Berkshire Family YMCA's North Street facility and another that could bring a pickleball court into the city.

With regard to possible downtown zoning changes, the city will host an informational meeting 6 p.m. Thursday in council chambers. The city hopes the proposed changes encourage downtown redevelopment and set more standards for new construction.

Heads up

The city is beginning to grab hot asphalt as plants make it available to fill potholes, so get your service requests in. The best way to do that is by downloading the mobile app, PittSMART, or online via the city's website.

The Berkshire Earth Expo kicks off 11 a.m. Saturday at the Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires. The family-friendly fair includes eco-friendly vendors and food, and is focused on energy efficiency, climate resilience and environmental protection.

All day Tuesday, Patrick's Pub will host a dine-to-donate fundraiser for the Berkshire Humane Society. Customers who bring in downloaded coupons, available on Facebook, can donate 20 percent of their bill to help the animal shelter.

And beware of pranksters this week, dear reader, especially if you have people in your life who like to make hay of April Fools' Day.

What's up in Pittsfield next week? Ping me via email at adrane@berkshireeagle.com, or call me at 413-496-6296. Follow me on Twitter @amandadrane.


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