For Immediate Release - December 05, 2012

Patrick-Murray Administration Awards PARC Grants to Seven Western Massachusetts Communities

NORTHAMPTON – Wednesday, December 5, 2012 – Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary (EEA) Rick Sullivan today announced $2,253,400 in grants has been awarded to seven communities in Western Massachusetts to enhance parks and recreational facilities as the part of the Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) Program.

“Public parks are essential to the health and economic wellbeing of our communities and these grants will help provide additional recreational opportunities for residents in these seven communities,” said Secretary Sullivan. “On behalf of Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray, 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 Agawam, Holyoke, Northampton, Pittsfield, South Hadley, Springfield and Ware.

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:

  • Agawam -- School Street Park ($400,000) -- This project includes the construction of picnic shelters, a volleyball court, a playground, a spray park, restroom facilities, parking for 200-plus cars, a  60-foot baseball diamond, a band shell, a multi-use field, an educational wetland overlook, and maintenance facilities.
  • Holyoke -- Pulaski Park ($175,000) -- The project will include the development of a skate park.
  • Northampton -- Connecticut River Greenway ($400,000) -- The project will provide river access to the Connecticut River and include a walkway, boat docks and parking.
  • Pittsfield -- First Street Common Park Phase 2 ($400,000) -- This project includes the installation of new drainage piping, lawn, solar compacting trash bins, construction of new wide paved pathways and 30 new large shade trees will be planted.
  • South Hadley -- Buttery Brook Park Improvements ($400,000) -- The project includes improvements to the park entrance, tree plantings throughout the park, reconstruction of the basketball court, construction of a new restroom facility, skate park  and spray park; installation of additional playground equipment, roof repairs at both pavilions and a creation of a new green space with a walking path.
  • Springfield -- Camp Wilder ($400,000) -- The project includes installation of a new pavilion, play structure, youth soccer field, ADA accessible paths, gazebo and an outdoor classroom learning area.
  • Ware -- Grenville Park Bandstand ($78,400) -- The project will add an ADA-compliant ramp to the bandstand and the application of loam and seed to the 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.

“This project could not have advanced without the money provided by this grant. The Lions Club and the community of Ware have been working long and hard to raise funds for this project and the partnership between the town and the state will ensure that the bandstand, a focal point for many community-wide activities and celebrations, is restored.  The renovations will increase accessibility for citizens and ensure the structure is a staple in the community for generations,” said Sen. Stephen M. Brewer.

"This is great news for Northampton and South Hadley," said Sen. Stan Rosenberg. "These grants are sound investments and will have an enormously positive impact on the future of these communities."

“I want to extend my congratulations to the Town of Agawam and the City of Springfield on their successful proposals,” said Sen. James T. Welch. “During difficult times, the PARC grant provides critical state resources that allow our communities to renovate safe and suitable recreational spaces for our residents.”

"The bandstand is a focus point of the well used Grenville Park. It has been very sad to see it in such disrepair,” said Rep. Anne Gobi. “I am thrilled that the Patrick Administration and Secretary Sullivan have awarded this grant to Ware so that the bandstand will be fully accessible and usable to bring more entertainment to the community."

"I want to thank Secretary Sullivan and the Patrick Administration for their commitment to expanding recreational and tourism opportunities in Northampton,” said Rep. Peter V. Kocot. “This grant will open the Connecticut River to rowing enthusiasts and those who love the great outdoors in an exciting new way."

“Buttery Brook Park has been an important resource for the residents of South Hadley and neighboring communities for many years,” said Rep. John Scibak. “This grant will assist the Town in updating the facilities and ensuring that Buttery Brook will continue to provide a variety of recreational opportunities for years to come.”

"I'm extremely pleased the Town of Ware has received a PARC grant for the Greenville Park Bandstand. These funds will improve this space for the benefit of residents and visitors alike, and contribute to the overall betterment of the community," said Rep. Todd Smola. "It's great news for the Town, and certainly a well deserved award."

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.