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Baker-Polito Administration Announces Municipal Park and Recreation Grants More than $6.9 Million Awarded to 23 Communities
NORTHAMPTON – December 18, 2015 – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced
more than $6.9 million in grant funding for park and recreation improvements in 23
Massachusetts communities through the Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for
Communities (PARC) Grant Program.
«By increasing access to outdoor recreation, we hope to enhance the lives of
citizens from every corner of Massachusetts and heighten appreciation for our
natural resources,» said Governor Charlie Baker. «These grants will help fund the
construction of new parks for Massachusetts residents to enjoy, as well as make
existing parks safer, cleaner and more accessible.»
«The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to revitalizing communities by
upgrading green spaces for outdoor recreation and improving access to natural
resources, such as waterways and historic neighborhood landmarks,» said Lieutenant
Governor Karyn Polito. «Through the PARC program, we are able to provide resources
to municipalities of every size to help them create and improve outdoor recreational
opportunities for their residents.»
The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ (EEA) PARC Program
(formerly the Urban Self-Help Program) was established in 1977 to assist cities and
towns in acquiring and developing land for park and outdoor recreation purposes. Any
community with an up-to-date Open Space and Recreation Plan is eligible to apply for
«Parks serve as a great opportunity for people to learn and grow by connecting with
nature, as well as get out and exercise while having fun,» said EEA Secretary
Matthew Beaton. «Under the leadership of the Baker-Polito Administration, we are
investing in parks and outdoor recreational improvements for residents in every kind
There are two categories of PARC grants: the Small Town grant category for towns
with less than 35,000 residents with a maximum grant award of $50,000 and a separate
category for cities and towns with more than 35,000 residents that has a $400,000
grant award maximum.
The following communities are recipients of the PARC grant awards:
TOTAL GRANT AWARD
The project includes renovation of the children’s play area and tennis courts.
George E. Keith Park
The project includes the renovation of the park to improve accessibility and
walkability, replacement of trees and benches, restoration of the fountain and
bandstand, accessible parking, improved lighting, trash receptacles, and other
Mystic River Overlook Park
The project will create a new park with curving pathways for walking and jogging,
ornamental lighting, site furniture, steel retaining walls, trash receptacles, a
water fountain, unprogrammed lawn space, and trees.
Ray Ash Park Pool Project
The project will construct a pool that will incorporate swimming lanes on one side,
with a zero entry depth beach style entry on the other end, low spray features will
be added to provide play spaces for younger children, and a permanent pool lift will
be added as a second means of access for the disabled, bath houses will be
renovated, and a pool deck with shaded seating will be added.
The project will construct a new park along the Millers River that will include
infrastructure and utility improvements, a great lawn, a picnic pavilion, composting
toilets, benches, site lighting, playground, sensory trail, and landscaping.
Swan Street Park
The project will improve aesthetics and drainage, add a new sod field, irrigation,
and modern lighting, upgrade the tot lot and basketball court, and renovate the
Fall River Parks Project
The project will install new fencing at ball fields in three city parks – Abbott
Court, Kennedy Park, and Maplewood Park.
First and Railroad Street Park
The project will include the construction of a full court basketball court and a
greenspace for passive recreation and education with shade trees, low shrubbery and
groundcover plantings, as well as seating and a picnic table.
Gagnon and Bourgoin Parks – Playgrounds
The project will fully renovate the playgrounds at Gagnon Park and Bourgoin Square
Park, including the installation of rubberized surfacing.
South Common Phase I
The project will include the construction of new ADA-compliant pathways, renovation
of existing walkways, installation of new lighting and landscaping, and removal of
brush to increase visibility from the street.
Hazelwood Park Renovation
The project will include the introduction of new ADA compliant entrances on the west
and east property lines, as well as walking paths around and through the site, the
addition of a small amphitheatre on the Great Lawn, rehabilitation of the bowling
green, the addition of picnic tables, benches, and trash receptacles, the redesign
of the parking lots, and the planting of trees.
Noel Field Skate Park
The project includes the development of a skate park on existing tennis courts.
Pulaski Park – Phase 2
The project will lessen the slope on the south side of the park, making it usable
parkland, and will include greenspace for sitting, as well as walkways and benches,
landscaping and lighting elements, and improved access to the Manhan Trail.
Oak Island Park
The project includes renovations to the baseball field including grading, loaming,
seeding, a new infield, and irrigation; to the basketball court including
replacement of posts and backboards and resurfacing; removal of the existing tot lot
and replacement with an expanded playground facility; fencing and walkways;
landscaping; benches; and lighting.
Mary Jane Lee Park
The project will include the conversion of asphalt to lawn, the installation of an
irrigation system, planting of four new trees and perimeter plantings, installation
of rubber play surfacing, upgrading of play structures, addition of a new shade
pavilion, painting of a kiddie trike track, and the conversion of a full-sized
basketball court to two junior courts.
Hoyt Sullivan Playground
The project includes the regrading of the playground and the installation of a
smooth, water-permeable surface, the replacement of the play structures and
furniture, the installation of an interactive water play feature, installation of
pedestrian-level LED lighting, and the resurfacing of the basketball court as a
multi-purpose space also useful for environmental education.
South Branch Park
The project includes the construction of a boat launch, a pavilion, ADA walking
paths, benches, and picnic tables.
Weir Village Riverfront Park
The project will construct a new park on a former brownfield site that will include
a tree-lined, multi-use path along the river (approximately 1000 feet), which will
ultimately become part of a proposed Taunton River Trail, and site amenities.
Coes Knife Renovation Phase II
The project will include the installation of a multi-generational and universally
accessible playground, new support facilities, ADA accessible walkways, installation
of a scenic overlook area, new benches, utility upgrades, landscaping, park edge
improvements, kiosk, signage, and a location for historical artifacts.
SMALL TOWN GRANT AWARDEES
Ella Hill Playground
The project will include the removal and replacement of trees, new fencing, removal
of old playground infrastructure, and installation of new playground equipment,
picnic tables, and benches.
Kress Field Playground Renovation
The project will construct a universally accessible playground.
Lee Athletic Field Improvements
The project will replace the existing play equipment with new equipment for the 6-23
month old age group and install wood fiber safety surfacing.
Grenville Park Road Restoration
The project will rehabilitate the roads in the park, as well as design and install
formal parking spaces.
The funding comes on the heels of recent announcement by the Baker-Polito
Administration of more than $2.7 million in grant funding for land conservation
projects through the Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (LAND) Grant Program
and the Conservation Partnership Program (CPP).
«Our parks are one of our most treasured and valuable resources. Parks increase the
likelihood of exercise and create a sense of community among nearby residents,» said
Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst). «The $6.9 million in grants announced
today reaffirms our commitment to maintaining vibrant and accessible public spaces,
and encourages future generations to appreciate the outdoors.»
«The Millers River is one of natural treasures of the Second Franklin District,»
said State Representative Susannah Whipps Lee (R-Athol). «We are grateful and
pleased that these funds will be used to allow both residents and visitors with
additional access to Riverfront Park.»
«I want to thank Governor Baker and Secretary Beaton for their commitment to funding
important environmental and open space protection projects throughout Western
Massachusetts,» said State Representative Peter V. Kocot (D-Northampton). «It’s good
to know that we have partners in government in Boston that we can work with to meet
the goals of our communities.»
«I am very proud that our efforts to secure $400,000 for the South Branch Park in
the City of Springfield were successful,» said State Representative Angelo J.
Puppolo, Jr. (D-Springfield). «This critical funding will provide for a major
renovation and continued upgrade of this important park and is a significant project
in my neighborhood and district. The residents and neighbors of the city will
clearly benefit by the continued upgrades to this park. I was pleased to work with
Governor Baker and Secretary Beaton for this funding and look forward to seeing the
results of this important joint effort and its impact on the community.»
«I’m very excited that Ware has secured these funds through the PARC Grant Program,»
said State Representative Todd Smola (R-Warren). «We live in one of the most the
most beautiful parts of the state and this project will encourage people to get out
and enjoy the outdoors.»
«I am grateful to the Baker-Polito Administration for this $400,000 PARC grant for
phase two of our Pulaski Park renovation project,» said Northampton Mayor David J.
Narkewicz. «These funds will help us complete the historic transformation of
Northampton’s beloved downtown park through the construction of a gradually sloped
overlook that will improve accessibility, increase the overall urban green space for
residents and visitors to enjoy, and create a connection to the New Haven &
Northampton rail trail.»
«First of all, I am very appreciative to Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor
Polito’s Administration for their continued support of our Springfield Parks and
‘green spaces’, which are so vital to urban America,» said Springfield Mayor Domenic
J. Sarno. «Here in Springfield, we are very proud of having an outstanding park
system, and this grant continues to enhance it. Of very special note, I am proud to
announce that with this generous grant, we will be naming the South Branch Parkway
passive park/waterway after our hero, the late Marine Gunnery Sgt. Tommy Sullivan,
right in the heart of the neighborhood he grew up in and the waterway area he boated
«Providing the resources to keep the Commonwealth’s parks in world class condition
allows the citizens of Massachusetts to get outside and enjoy our natural resources
as a community,» said State Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer). «The Baker-Polito
Administration has made as strong commitment to this through the PARC grant.»
«South Branch Park is an exciting project for the city, with walking trails, a boat
dock, and many other features,» said State Senator Eric P. Lesser (D-Longmeadow).
«This park will be a wonderful resource for the residents of East Forest Park.»
«I congratulate the Town of Ware on receiving a $50,000 PARC grant,» said State
Representative Donald Berthiaume (R-Spencer). «This funding will allow the town to
complete much needed repairs to one of Ware’s most treasured outdoor recreational