For Immediate Release - December 06, 2013


SPRINGFIELD – Friday, December 6, 2013 – Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rick Sullivan today celebrated an agreement with the City of Springfield to make upgrades to Camp STAR Angelina in the city’s Forest Park.

“The Patrick Administration is happy to invest in this project making Camp STAR Angelina the first universally designed day camp in western Massachusetts,” said Secretary Sullivan. “Recreational activities should be available to everyone. This project will not only develop new facilities for swimming, cultural performances and group activities to serve the needs of all our youth, but it will revitalize an underused section of Forest Park.”

Secretary Sullivan and Mayor Domenic Sarno today signed a contract for the project, which Governor Patrick previously announced last month in Springfield.

The Patrick Administration is providing $1.225 million to help fund the construction of a zero depth entry pool and accessible bath house, a universal outdoor amphitheater and an accessible trail to Porter Lake. Springfield raised $600,000 in private funding to contribute towards the construction of the pool and bath house. The pool is expected to open in time for campers to use it next summer, and the amphitheater and trail are expected to be completed in fall 2014. These upgraded facilities will also be made available to the public for a wide range of programs and events, including picnics, family reunions, swimming, outdoor theater, school field trips and group fitness. Situated in Springfield’s 700-acre Forest Park, Camp STAR Angelina serves youth and young adults with and without disabilities, medical concerns and hearing and visual impairments.

“The City of Springfield is truly appreciative and thankful for this grant from the Commonwealth to aid in the construction of this accessible facility,” said Mayor Sarno. “All our residents, especially the youth of Springfield, deserve the opportunity to participate in outdoor recreation regardless of physical ability.”

Secretary Sullivan and Mayor Sarno today signed the contract in front of an audience including community leaders, park advocates and campers from Camp STAR Angelina.

“Forest Park is truly a Springfield treasure, and I am pleased that the Patrick Administration is investing in critical improvements to Camp STAR Angelina. This project will breathe new life into an underutilized corner of the park and will literally level the playing field for young people with disabilities throughout the Pioneer Valley,” said Senator Gale Canderas.

“Camp STAR Angelina is a valuable resource to our community,” said Senator James T. Welch. “I am thrilled that we are able to support vital projects like this.”

“Investing in recreational activities for our youth plays a large and important role for developing the community,” said Representative Cheryl Coakley-Rivera. “These types of contributions will provide a significant long-term benefit for the City of Springfield and allow our local youth to remain active in the community.”

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 110,000 acres of land and the renovation or creation of more than 170 parks. The new parks and open space created are within a ten minute walk of 1.5 million residents – about a quarter of the Commonwealth’s residents.

According to a report by The Trust for Public Land, outdoor recreation generates $10 billion in consumer spending, $739 million in state and local tax revenue and $3.5 billion in wages and salaries each year in Massachusetts.