Patrick-Murray Administration Awards PARC Grants to Marlborough and Waltham
MARLBOROUGH – Thursday, December 6, 2012 – Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary (EEA) Rick Sullivan today announced $680,500 in grants has been awarded to the communities of Marlborough and Waltham to enhance parks and recreational facilities as 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 to Marlborough and Waltham, helping to provide additional recreational opportunities for residents in those 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.”
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 city of Marlborough received $400,000 to make improvements to Memorial Beach, including regrading and repaving the parking area and planting 60 new trees. The project will also include the addition of a walkway along the edge of the parking lot to the new beach access paved pathway, a pedestrian bridge, a new children’s play area, upgraded storm water controls, installation of a new sewer line, replacement of picnic tables and grills, and installation of a basketball court.
The city of Waltham received $280,500 for a project at the Metropolitan State Hospital. The funds will be used to construct a 46-bay parking lot, a paved walkway from the parking lot for universal access, bicycle parking for 20 bicycles and an information kiosk containing exhibit space for environmental education.
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 congratulate the city of Marlborough on receiving this grant and appreciate the Patrick-Murray Administration’s commitment to providing recreational opportunities to the people of the Commonwealth,” said Sen. Jamie Eldridge. “This grant provides an exciting opportunity to improve Memorial Beach and provide the residents of Marlborough with expanded recreation options.”
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.
“I am thrilled that after months of lobbying from the city and state legislative delegation, the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs has awarded Waltham a $280,500 PARC grant to make improvements at Metropolitan State Hospital Property,” said Rep. Thomas Stanley. “The property is a great resource for Waltham residents and visitors, who will benefit from additional parking for cars and bikes, as well as an informational kiosk which will offer environmental education.”
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.