Patrick Administration Announces Open Space Investments to Expand Growth and Opportunity in Cape Cod Region
BARNSTABLE – Monday, December 30, 2013 – Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary (EEA) Rick Sullivan today announced more than $1.2 million in investments for parks, recreational spaces and open space conservation in four Cape Cod and South Coast communities. Secretary Sullivan made the announcement in Barnstable, which received three different grants worth more than $520,000.
“The Patrick Administration is committed to improving our parks and open spaces across the Commonwealth,” said Secretary Sullivan. “In addition to preserving open space, improving recreational opportunities and protecting the Commonwealth’s natural resources, these investments will create economic growth across the region.”
A $233,795 Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) grant will help Barnstable create a new park on Hyannis Inner Harbor at the Pleasant Street Pier. A Gateway City Parks grant of $202,369 will close a street and increase the size of Ridgewood Park, providing a new playground. The Barnstable Land Trust and Harwich Conservation Trust each received a Conservation Partnership grant of $85,000.
Other announcements included a $400,000 Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (LAND) grant for Brewster to acquire 55 acres of woods for conservation and water supply protection, and a $204,250 Drinking Water Supply Protection grant for Wareham to help expand and protect the Maple Park Wellhead.
Strengthening the Patrick Administration’s commitment to urban park investments, Secretary Sullivan also announced a new grant program that will build a playground or spray park in each of the Commonwealth’s 54 cities. The Our Common Backyards grant program will help cities create or renovate parks in the neighborhoods that need them most. Each city is eligible to receive up to $200,000 in grant assistance. The Our Common Backyards grant application is available on Comm-pass and the EEA website.
EEA created the Gateway City Parks Program in 2009 to develop and restore parks in urban neighborhoods. The program is designed to be flexible and provide municipal officials with a menu of funding options for all phases of park development Twenty-six Massachusetts cities are eligible for the program, which targets communities with populations greater than 35,000 and median household incomes, per capita incomes and educational attainment levels below the state average.
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. Any community with an up-to-date Open Space and Recreation Plan is eligible to apply for the program.
Since 1961, LAND grants have helped cities and towns acquire land for conservation and outdoor recreational uses. To qualify for the reimbursement grants, communities must fund projects upfront and the protected open space must be open to the public.
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. This report also found that the state’s Gateway City Parks investments will create nearly 500 jobs and $26.5 million in local wages and salaries.