Vol. III No. 03 2/1/2022
Reader to Reader
Here is an Interlaken resident's perspective on the bridge closures in our neighborhood. Over the past several years, four bridges were out of commission in Interlaken, so our neighborhood has been particularly challenged. We were delighted when the Rt.183 bridge by Larrywaug Crossroad reopened. That was a triumph for car travel; walkers and bicyclers were also pleased.
Sadly, the remaining three closed bridges (two at Averic Rd. and the historic Curtisville Bridge) are still off limits to pedestrians and cyclists. Many Interlaken residents enjoy taking walks to the reservoir on Averic Road and "walking the circle" from Rt. 183 to Averic to Train Hill to Interlaken Crossroad to Willard Hill, Hill Road, and Trask Lane. Stockbridge Bowl residents are also frequent walkers of those routes. All have been negatively impacted by closed bridges, the slowness of the repairs, and responses to our queries about the future of the Curtisville Bridge. The refusal to open Curtisville Bridge for walkers and cyclists is frustrating.
Currently a chain link fence sits on both sides of that bridge while a wide open, potentially dangerous, new span was built just north of the bridge to temporarily carry sewer and water pipes. That new "temporary bridge" has no top decking and is an open invitation to risk takers who might want to try to walk over it.
Speaking on behalf of many of my neighbors, we would like to have a way to walk around our village. The Curtisville Bridge is surely unsafe for cars and trucks, but pedestrians, leashed dogs, and cyclists should not pose a problem.
We sincerely hope the Select Board, Town Administrator, Highway Superintendent and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation will take another look at Curtisville Bridge. Surely a relatively inexpensive temporary solution can be found to allow safe passage for pedestrians and bicyclists across that bridge while considering long-term solutions for the bridge restoration.
Our hopes are that Curtisville Bridge remain for pedestrians only, and that when the first Averic Rd. bridge work is completed this spring, it and the bridge next to it will be opened for walkers and cyclists.
"Walking the circle" again with our neighbors and friends would be a great way to welcome the spring season in Interlaken in 2022!!
Thanks for the opportunity to share these concerns,
Stockbridge Updates is delighted to provide a place to share. Your walks sound like lots of fun.
Thought I would let you know that Berkshire Agricultural Ventures (BAV) was recently awarded two grants totaling nearly $1 million from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). BAV was the only 2021 recipient nationwide of funding from both the USDA's Regional Food System Partnership (RFSP) and the Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP). These grants will allow BAV, over the course of three years, to address long-standing food system issues in the region's livestock supply chain, and improve access to local foods for Berkshire-Taconic Region residents while growing sales for local food producers.
Grants from the USDA's Regional Food System Partnership (RFSP) support partnerships that connect public and private resources to plan and develop local or regional food systems.
Over the project period, BAV will leverage the $480,948 RFSP grant to enhance existing relationships with livestock supply chain enterprises, economic development and planning agencies, and agricultural service providers to build capacity for the grant activities. The outcomes for the project will be improved meat processing, new supply chain infrastructure, and enhanced marketing opportunities for meat processors and livestock producers within the Berkshire-Taconic Region.
As BAV staff member Dan Carr recently wrote, "Our nation's consolidated meat processing industry is unhealthy for farmers, for consumers, and for the environment. While the Berkshire-Taconic/Litchfield Hills region is an ideal landscape for regenerative livestock farmers, current demand for local meat far outstrips what our region's farmers can produce, due to bottlenecks in meat processing capacity. Supporting the growth of local small-scale meat processors can help secure our region's meat supply, and also support local livestock producers."
In addition to federal funding, BAV has received funding from local Berkshire foundations and individuals to help improve the availability of regional meat processing and storage. The second grant, the USDA's Local Food Promotion Program (LFPP), funds projects that develop, coordinate, and expand local and regional food business enterprises that engage as intermediaries in indirect producer-to-consumer marketing to help increase access to and availability of locally and regionally produced agricultural products.
To fulfill this $498,068 grant, BAV is partnering with Berkshire Organics — an online food marketplace and home delivery service — to grow sales for local food producers and improve access to local foods for customers. "The LFPP award gives BAV a huge boost to carry out what we're already good at: supporting the growth and long-term viability of local food businesses," said Ciana Barnaba, BAV Special Projects Manager.
Thank you for keeping us in the loop, good luck with your project.