Look Ahead, Pittsfield: Spring, budgets and election announcements

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Spring arrives this week, bringing with it budget season and a sneak peek at the city's upcoming election season.

Pittsfield's departmental budget process kicked off with a bang last week when school Superintendent Jason McCandless announced his aim to beef up the educational ranks to the tune of $3.45 million, an increase that mirrors a new wave in state support. This week, the city's department heads will gather internally for the annual budget summit as Mayor Linda Tyer works to develop her spending plan for fiscal year 2020.

And which city councilors are running for reelection, and which aren't? Election energy got percolating last week when Ward 7 City Councilor Tony Simonelli announced he wouldn't seek another term in the November election. We might find out more this week about how the campaign field could end up looking.

Tyer's housing rehab loan program wasn't exactly a hit last week with the City Council, and so this week she continues her work reshaping it in a way that passes muster in Council chambers.

On the green front

Members of the Green Commission think the city's climate action plan has grown a tad out of date, and this week they'll discuss what role the body can play in sprucing it up.

There's also a climate cafe meeting at J. Allen's at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, during which climate-minded folks will gather and talk green over drinks.

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In news about another kind of green, two more marijuana retailers are looking to set up shop on Dalton Avenue, and the Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled to make the final municipal call on Wednesday. If approved, they would bring the city's pot shop count to 10.

While it's not feeling warm yet, it's coming. That's why the city's Parks Commission is reviewing warm-weather happenings this week, including new lightscape designs for Park Square, reflecting a collaboration between Berkshire Lightscapes and City Hall.

The commission also plans to review canoe access at Wahconah Park and a proposal for adult basketball and flag football at Durant Park.

Heads up

A community space on Tyler Street, Tyler Street Lab, will be ready on Saturday to show off its new look. Several city organizations, including the Morningside Neighborhood Initiative, Youth Alive and the Berkshire NAACP are making use of the newly refurbished space donated by Goodwill Industries.

Have thoughts on things like cycling lanes and sidewalks? The city has some plans drawn up for possible grant funding under the state's Complete Streets program, and wants to hear from you before submitting it. Comments can be sent by Friday via email to City Engineer Ricardo Morales at rmorales@cityofpittsfield.org.

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


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