The Pittsfielder's New Year's Resolutions (2/5)

This is part two of my five New Year's resolutions that I am sharing for 2018, with the intent of making these my core focus of the Pittsfielder starting next year. Explore the Blog to see other resolutions.

Resolution 2: Public Space Experiments

A pop-up park on the street, with seating and decoration. Courtesy of https://newcanaanite.com.

A pop-up park on the street, with seating and decoration. Courtesy of https://newcanaanite.com.

I love to visit Third Thursday every month in the summer. With the sights, sounds and smells, it is a great showcase of downtown Pittsfield and its public realm. However, I do have one glaring issue with the monthly festival that seems to be mainly overlooked. There is nowhere to sit. Besides the sidewalk benches that face away from the street, and planters that can be used as impromptu seats, I cannot think of any common area on the street that is inviting to sit and enjoy my fried dough, catch some sun or just people watch. Much like a mall has a food court, Third Thursday could use a common gathering and lingering area where families could enjoy a bite or rest their feet from the walk. I think this could be a boon to both visitors and vendors by allowing for a respite from the crowded foot traffic and hopefully encouraging visitors to stay at the event longer.

There are many more opportunities to experiment with public space as more activity is brought back downtown. Some ideas that I would like to pilot with the help of an artist and a source of funding include:

  • Stylized seating along North Street that doubles as sculpture or other public art
  • Activating Dunham Mall with more art, seating, or some kind of pop-up event
  • Reopening the breezeway that once connected McKay Street with North Street (next to Hot Harry's)
  • Utilizing the open-air plaza on Burbank Place for a bazaar or other public event
  • More pop-up plazas in underutilized spaces such as Palace Park and the corner of North Street and Maplewood Avenue

Getting visitors and residents to come and linger downtown requires having places to gather and sit. And while we are going in the right direction with the newly renovated plazas of Persip Park and Sottile Park (on opposite corners of North Street and Columbus Avenue/Eagle street), I would like to see a more widespread implementation of inviting, shaded and unique spots on the street to stop and rest.

This enclosed plaza on Burbank Place is the perfect candidate for piloting public art and lighting, or a market or festival.

This enclosed plaza on Burbank Place is the perfect candidate for piloting public art and lighting, or a market or festival.

That's day two of The Pittsfielder's five New Year's Resolutions; check back tomorrow (or if you're reading this in the future, just go back to the Blog page) for the next core topic of 2018. For this or any topic, please leave your feedback and ideas, or share your own Pittsfield-related resolution!

The PittsfielderComment