For Immediate Release - December 19, 2012

Patrick-Murray Administration Awards PARC Grants to Seven Massachusetts Communities

SALEM – Wednesday, December 19, 2012 – Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary (EEA) Rick Sullivan today announced $2,700,000 in grants have been awarded to Boston and six surrounding communities that will enhance parks and recreational facilities as the part of the Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) Program.

“Investing in public parks will help provide additional recreational opportunities for residents throughout the Commonwealth,” said Secretary Sullivan. “I want to thank community leaders, municipal officials and local-area legislators for working with us on these projects that will contribute to the health and economic wellbeing of these communities.”

The grants will fund projects in Boston, Brookline, Chelsea, Lynn, Marblehead, Salem and Somerville.

Since 2007, the Patrick-Murray Administration 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:

  • Boston – (East Boston) American Legion Playground ($400,000) – This project includes the renovation of two basketball courts, a playlot, bleachers and the existing ball fields by installing artificial turf, the installation of an energy-efficient field lighting system, the addition of a soccer field, and the construction of an observation platform to the waterfront.
  • Brookline – Fisher Hill Reservoir ($400,000) – The project includes the development of a new athletic field, seating, play space, hilltop seating area and viewing platform, outdoor classroom, promenade with benches, plantings and site interpretation.
  • Chelsea – 141 Washington Avenue Park Development Project ($400,000) – The project includes site preparation and the installation of four paved play “rooms”, connecting pathways, three varying play structures, benches, trash and recycling receptacles, shading retaining walls, trees and vegetation, and pedestrian appropriate lighting.
  • Lynn – Neptune Boulevard Park ($400,000) – The project will include the installation of a children’s play area with new safety surfacing, benches, picnic tables, the addition of plantings, a new irrigation system, a basketball court, a storage building, and new soccer nets and goalposts. In addition, the ball fields will receive new backstops and infields and perimeter fencing.
  • Marblehead – Former Chadwick Lead Mills ($400,000) – This grant will be used to acquire the 4.9 acre former brownfield site.
  • Salem – Bertram Field ($400,000) – The project will install synthetic turf at Bertram Field and renovate the existing track.
  • Somerville – North Street Veterans Playground ($400,000) – The project will include the installation of passive seating, new play features, water play activity features, the development of a community/performance space, the replacement of some of the chain link fencing and existing gates, and the addition of two new entrances and street lights.

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 happy that the American Legion Playground will benefit from this grant," said Rep. Carlo Basile. "This is one of the most highly used parks in East Boston, and its refurbishment has long been overdue. I look forward to seeing it redone and creating an attractive, fun and safe place for all families to use and enjoy.”

"These two PARC grants will go far towards two worthy projects in the communities I represent," said Rep. Lori A. Ehrlich. "The City of Lynn will now be able to revitalize a park much in need, and the Town of Marblehead will be able to work with our neighbors in Salem to re-envision the site of the former Chadwick Lead Mills - a gateway to both of our communities."

“I extend my thanks to Governor Patrick and Secretary Sullivan for Salem’s PARC Grant and for recognizing just how much these funds mean to cities and towns like Salem," said Rep. John Keenan. "Mayor Driscoll has done an incredible job revitalizing Salem’s neighborhoods and these funds will ensure that Salem’s future is a bright one.”

“This is an exciting opportunity to further develop the City of Chelsea and I am thankful to the Patrick-Murray Administration and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs for making resources available through the PARC program,” said Rep. Kathi-Anne Reinstein. “The funding awarded is critical to advancing a project that will serve as a center of recreation for the community and its families for years to come.”

“It is crucial that we continue to support parks and green recreational spaces, so I am delighted that Fisher Hill Reservoir will be receiving this grant to aid its transformation into a multi-use park. It will offer residents and visitors another opportunity to enjoy the outdoors as well as a picturesque view of our town," said Rep. Frank I. Smizik.

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.