“I’m very excited about the new walking program because it is designed for all of our citizens,” said Mayor Daniel L. Bianchi. “Whether you walk, run, roll or just stroll, it encourages the community to be active and healthy. If you park and walk, you can take the time to discover aspects of the downtown that you otherwise might not have had the opportunity to visually experience.”
The Downtown Loop runs from the Visitor’s Center at the Colonial Theater, around Park Square up North Street to Berkshire Medical Center and continues south on North Street through the center of downtown returning back to the Visitor’s Center. Downtown Loop guided signage will be located throughout the 2-mile walk thanks to the strong support and commitment from the City’s Departments of Community Development and Public Works.
This initiative highlights the benefits of physical fitness and healthy living to those living, working and visiting downtown. A collaborative effort between Downtown Pittsfield, Inc., City of Pittsfield, Berkshire Health Systems, the Berkshire Running Center at Berkshire Nautilus and the Pittsfield Family YMCA, the program was created to encourage healthier lifestyles and to enjoy the pedestrian-friendly, walkable and vibrant downtown. “With the recent improvements and investment to North Street, this program is designed to bring downtown workers, visitors and the community out to walk for the health of it, making for a more vibrant downtown,” said Elie Hammerling, Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. Board Member and downtown resident.
“Berkshire Running Center is excited to join the City of Pittsfield and Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. in promoting the importance of a healthy lifestyle through education, running and walking in the downtown Pittsfield. There are countless benefits of exercising including, improved weight loss or management, appetite suppression, increased energy, stress relief and improved cognitive skills. Aerobic exercise is important for all ages.”- Shiobean Archey and Kent Lemme, owners of Berkshire Running Center
Be on the lookout for signage with healthy and inspirational messages located in the street-level planters along the loop. These signs have been created through the generosity of Berkshire Health Systems Wellness Department. “Berkshire Health Systems is pleased to partner with Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. in helping to create a safe, well marked walking route which supports our mission of improving the health of our community. Walking just 30 minutes a day, most days of the week improves overall health and wellness and can lower one’s risk for disease,” said Carol V. Nixon, BHS Wellness Program Coordinator.
The Downtown Loop Committee, Chaired by Elie Hammerling, Downtown Pittsfield, Inc. board member and downtown resident, includes, Laurie Mick, Community Development Specialist for the City of Pittsfield; Carol Nixon, BHS Wellness Program Coordinator/Health Educator; Shiobbean Archey, Co-Owner, Berkshire Running Center. Special assistance was also provided by Kim McCann, Health and Wellness Coordinator, Tri-Town Health Department, Massachusetts Department of Public Health and Bob Maxwell, Greylock Marketing Group, for his design work on the Downtown Loop street signage.