For Immediate Release - December 04, 2012

Patrick-Murray Administration Awards $1.5 Million in PARC Grants to Four Southeastern Communities

YARMOUTH – Tuesday, December 4, 2012 – Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary (EEA) Rick Sullivan today announced $1,552,800 in grants have been awarded to four communities to enhance parks and recreational facilities as the part of the Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) Program.

“On behalf of Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray, it gives me great pleasure to award grants that will help provide additional recreational opportunities for residents in these four communities,” said Secretary Sullivan. “I want to thank community leaders, municipal officials and local-area legislators for partnering with us at EEA to make this happen.”

The grants will fund projects in Brockton, New Bedford, Provincetown and Yarmouth.

Since taking office, Governor Deval Patrick has made a historic investment of more than $300 million in land conservation focused on three goals: investing in urban parks, preserving working farms and forests, and protecting large natural landscapes for habitat. This investment has resulted in the permanent protection of more than 100,000 acres of land and the renovation or creation of more than 150 parks.

The PARC Grant Awards are as follows:

  • Brockton -- James Edgar Playground ($400,000) -- The project includes removing existing facilities and replacing them with two new volleyball courts, a futsal court, additional playground equipment, and an expanded parking lot. New tennis and basketball courts, storage and bathroom will also be added; and new drainage for the baseball field.
  • New Bedford -- New Bedford Harborwalk ($352,800) -- The project includes the construction of a 10-foot wide concrete slab walkway with lighting, benches and handrails.
  • Provincetown -- Dunes' Edge Campground ($400,000) -- The project will include the acquisition of a conservation restriction to permanently protect the site.
  • Yarmouth -- Flax Pond Recreation Area ($400,000) -- The project includes the construction of ADA-compliant restrooms and a septic system for the new lodge, the addition of a new play area, creation of a multipurpose accessible path throughout the campus and the installation of a multipurpose lawn area.

The 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. Financed by Massachusetts’ environmental bond fund, the program was created to support land acquisition and the construction, or renovation of recreation facilities – such as spray parks, community gardens, and playgrounds.

“I am very pleased to hear of this award, and I congratulate the city of Brockton,” said Sen. Thomas Kennedy. “This project is another example of taxpayers’ dollars being put to good use for the enjoyment of our community. I know these upgrades and improvements will be a most welcomed addition to this historic and popular recreational resource.”

“I am happy that these much needed grant monies have been awarded to the New Bedford Harbor Walk project. New Bedford’s harbor is the area’s premier natural resource and is a business and tourism asset. The grant for the proposed harbor walk will enable even greater recreational use of our harbor and will act as yet another tourism draw to New Bedford,” said Sen. Mark Montigny. “The project will not only have a positive economic impact but will also improve the quality of life to the citizens of New Bedford  and its surrounding communities by opening up the beauties of our harbor to the public and further increasing public land dedicated to recreation.”

"Whether the purpose is handicapped access and many other important improvements to a wonderful public area in Yarmouth, or purchasing a conservation restriction to keep a long-time campground area in Provincetown open, this is tangible state support driven by local priorities," said Sen. Dan Wolf. "Many thanks and congratulations to everyone who worked hard to make these projects a reality."

“I was only too happy to lend my support to this project when asked by the Town of Yarmouth,” said Rep. Demetrius Atsalis. “The Flax Pond Recreational Area is an important resource of the Town of Yarmouth and has provided many recreational opportunities and community activities to the residents of the area. The project is a great example of a public/private partnership using funding from the PARC grant in conjunction with charitable donations to a local non-profit to bring this work to completion.”     

“This is a great project for New Bedford, for our quality of life and for our City’s appeal to visitors,” said Rep. Antonio F. D. Cabral. “I’m looking forward to walking atop the hurricane barrier with my family.”

“This PARC grant provides the City of Brockton the wonderful opportunity to be able to invest in the James Edgar Playground,” said Rep. Christine Canavan. “I am thrilled over the news and am thankful for the Patrick-Murray Administration’s ongoing support.”

"Expanded funding for the Harborwalk provides a greater opportunity for residents of New Bedford, its surrounding towns, and visitors to enjoy some the Commonwealth's greatest natural assets,” said Rep. Christopher Markey. “Pedestrian access to the Harbor means greater utilization of a unique open space, and helps reconnect the people with a part of our shared heritage."

“This grant funding is very welcome, and it will allow the campground to continue to offer an affordable vacation to the thousands of people who stay there annually,” said Rep. Sarah Peake. “This funding also means that this beautiful property can be maintained in its current condition and not be developed into a housing subdivision.”

Grant applications are assessed based on criteria such as project quality and demographics, with preference given to park projects located close to urban centers and public transportation or serving environmental justice populations. These populations are defined as neighborhoods where the median annual household income is at or below 65 percent of the statewide median income or 25 percent or more of the residents are a minority, foreign born or lacking in English language proficiency.

EEA will be awarding a total of 25 PARC grants for a total investment of more than $8 million to help municipalities acquire parkland, renovate existing parks or build new parks and other outdoor recreation facilities.

The application process for PARC grants is open each spring to all 351 cities and towns across the Commonwealth that have an up-to-date Open Space and Recreation Plan.

###