Turf Field Clears Hurdles, Funds Still Needed
According to The Berkshire Eagle, Berkshire County is very close to finally seeing the dream of an artificial turf field come to fruition. The media outlet reports that after overcoming many challenges, including environmental, zoning and safety concerns, the project has been given the green light to proceed and will break ground in May of 2018.
There's one catch, a $600,000 catch to be exact. The field is going to happen next year, with or without the $600,000, but if the gap in funding for the original budget cannot be filled, the plans will need to be scaled back. Because of the legal and environmental hurdles that needed to be cleared to appease naysayers of the project, almost $260,000 dollar was added on to the cost. To the date, the field was mostly paid for from a $1.1 million dollar state bond bill, and additional support from City Hall to the tune of $200,000, The Feigenbaum Foundation, Berkshire Bank, Greylock Federal Credit Union, the Berkshire County Sheriff's Department and the Bill Belichick Foundation, which contributed $5,000.
"The opportunity to have a turf field in our community would be a shot in the arm for the community, on and off the field...Most communities have some sort of multipurpose year-round facility — we don't have that."
- Jim Abel, Athletic Director from Taconic and Pittsfield High Schools
As a child, I always remember having to travel long distances for games and tournaments to use other facilities because we didn't have one. That's tough on young athletes as well as their parents, not to mention extremely time consuming and costly. When cities and towns host special events and tournaments, it gives area lodging and restaurants a boost, as well as bring people to the area who have possibly never been east of Springfield.
We often talk about the importance of bringing new, young families to the area, what better way to give them a taste of what life is like here in The Berkshires, than have them travel here with their children for the weekend. Insuring the other $600,000 in funding is vital to make sure this facility will be on par with others around the area. How do we make it happen?