For Immediate Release - February 07, 2013

Patrick-Murray Administration Awards $500,000 Gateway Cities Grant to Methuen

METHUEN – Thursday, February 7, 2013 – As part of the Governor's plan to grow jobs and expand economic opportunity, Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rick Sullivan today announced a $500,000 grant to help construct a new clubhouse at Methuen’s Nicholson Stadium.

The grant was awarded through EEA’s Gateway Cities Parks Program. Established in 2009, the program was launched to create parks and enhance recreational facilities in 24 communities, designated as Gateway Cities, across the Commonwealth.

“Contributing to the health and economic wellbeing of our communities, public parks provide recreational opportunities for local residents,” said Secretary Sullivan. “The Gateway Cities Park Program is another tool the Patrick-Murray Administration uses to continue the work of revitalizing our state’s urban areas, strengthening the Commonwealth as a whole.”

The project will involve the construction of the stadium’s new clubhouse. The building will feature ADA-compliant restrooms and locker rooms, a concession stand, a multipurpose room and office space.

“This grant is a welcomed infusion of funding to finish a new clubhouse that volunteers worked so hard to get started,” said Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives.

"This initiative by the Patrick Administration has had such a positive impact on the daily lives residents of our Gateway cities,” said Rep. Linda Campbell. “In this economy it is virtually impossible for these communities to make these types of investments. These grants give these communities further incentive to continue revitalization."  

“I am delighted to participate in this important announcement of a multi-purpose facility at Methuen's Nicholson Stadium. Methuen's students, and the community as a whole, will greatly benefit from this Gateway Cities Grant, which will help to revitalize recreational infrastructure in Methuen that was in dire need. My thanks to Governor Patrick and his administration for a real commitment to the Gateway Cities of Massachusetts,” said Rep. Diana DiZoglio.

“The Gateway Cities Parks grant offers a great opportunity to support recreational facilities in the community," said Rep. Frank Moran. "I am pleased that Methuen has been awarded a $500,000 grant to help construct a new clubhouse with restrooms, locker rooms, and a concession stand at Methuen’s Nicholson Stadium.”

“These funds will allow us to move forward on an important piece of our stadium enhancement project,” said Mayor Steve Zanni. “Our City has longed for these improvements to be made, and I am thankful to Secretary Sullivan and Governor Patrick for working so closely with me in getting this project off the ground and moving in a positive direction. Our young men and women who participate in youth athletic programs are more than deserving of this state of the art facility.  I know I am joined by all residents when I say how excited I am about these developments!”

The Gateway City Parks Program is a flexible program that provides municipal officials with a number of funding options for all phases of park development. There are 24 Massachusetts cities eligible for the program, which targets communities with population greater than 35,000, and median household incomes and educational attainment levels below the state average.

Funding can be used for activities and costs such as brownfield assessment and cleanup, park planning and recreational needs assessments – including the development of open space and recreation plans, activities that were not eligible for state parks funding prior to the Patrick-Murray Administration's creation of the Gateway City Parks program. Communities can also use the grants for acquisition, design and construction of parks, greenways, and other recreational facilities.

Over the past three years, the Patrick-Murray Administration has invested nearly $22 million in the program. In 2012, the program funded $7 million worth of park construction projects, providing jobs and enhancing economic vitality and quality of life. In fiscal year 2014, $6.6 million is budgeted for the program.

Since taking office, the Patrick-Murray Administration has made a historic investment of more than $300 million in land conservation. This has been accomplished by focusing on three goals: preserving working farms and forests, protecting large natural landscapes for habitat, and investing in urban parks.