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Funding Announced for Environmental Projects in Lenox, Pittsfield

LENOX, PITTSFIELD — Gov. Deval Patrick recently joined state environmental officials and local officials to announce $1.2 million in capital funding to support environmental projects at Baker’s Pond in Lenox and Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield, enhancing existing natural habitats and improving recreational opportunities for residents.

“Growth requires investment, and creating and upgrading recreational parks and open spaces while also providing important community resources will help create growth and opportunity across the commonwealth,” Patrick said. “This investment will improve the lives of Massachusetts children and families now and for generations to come.”

The administration’s $125,000 investment in Baker’s Pond will assist in the final phase of restoration of the pond. The removal of invasive species and water-quality improvements will preserve the habitat for wildlife species and make it a more appealing destination for visitors to Kennedy Park. Berkshire Community College’s Life Sciences Department will work with the town to ensure proper removal of any invasive species and the complete restoration of the pond.

“Safe, reliable drinking water has always been a critical need. In the 21st century, we will need to develop new technologies to meet growing demand,” said U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern. “I’m pleased that the federal government is joining with the Commonwealth and UMass Amherst in this promising effort.”

Baker’s Pond has a history of recreational use, but, after a small dam breach, the pond fell into disrepair, resulting in the growth of invasive plant and animal species. With ongoing improvements, the pond is once again becoming an attraction for tourists and hikers, as well as a habitat for endangered amphibian species.

The city of Pittsfield was also awarded $1.1 million to ensure proper drainage and wetland protection as Berkshire Community College works to construct an athletic field on campus, the first of its kind in Berkshire County. The athletic-field location is north of a vernal pool, certified by the Natural Heritage Endangered Species Program, making it important for the project to be environmentally sensitive in order to preserve habitat for plants and animals.

“Gov. Patrick has demonstrated a strong commitment to Pittsfield an Berkshire County,” said Mayor Daniel Bianchi. “The city of Pittsfield is pleased to join the governor in a financial commitment for the environmental restoration and construction of the new Berkshire Community College turf field. The new field will provide an athletic hub from Berkshire County and beyond. I look forward to the new events that the BCC turf field will bring to Pittsfield.”

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