For Immediate Release - July 10, 2014

PATRICK ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION FUND GRANTS TO AMHERST, BOXFORD, BROCKTON AND CHELMSFORD

BOSTON – Friday, July 11, 2014 – Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett today announced over $600,000 in funding from the National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). This funding will be used to support land conservation and park projects in the communities of Amherst, Boxford, Brockton and Chelmsford.

"The Patrick Administration has made historic investments in open space and land conservation, making Massachusetts a better place for our children and grandchildren,” said Secretary Bartlett. “We are grateful for this federal funding as these projects will protect valuable natural resources and support local efforts to improve access to parks and open space in four communities.”

The LWCF Program provides matching grants to state and local governments for the acquisition and development of public outdoor recreation areas and facilities, as well as funding for shared federal land acquisition and conservation strategies. The program is intended to create and maintain a nationwide legacy of high quality recreation areas and facilities, and to stimulate non-federal investments in the protection and maintenance of recreation resources across the country. EEA’s Division of Conservation Services administers the grants for Massachusetts communities on behalf of the National Park Service.

The Patrick Administration has made a historic investment of more than $370 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 protection of more than 120,000 acres of land and the renovation or creation of over 170 parks since 2007, including projects in 310 of 351 communities, and 50 of those in the Commonwealth’s urban cities. The land conserved and parks created are within a 10 minute walk of 1.5 million residents – about 25 percent of the state’s population.

Grants are being awarded to the following projects:

  • Amherst - Puffer’s Pond: This $18,000 grant will fund resurfacing of a perimeter trail, installation of an ADA-compliant trail and seating area, a new safety fence and beach amenities.
  • Boxford - Hovey’s Pond: The $250,000 grant funding will be used to help acquire 46 acres of land on Hovey’s Pond that connects to an additional 500 acres of protected open space.
  • Brockton - Ralsco Neighborhood Park: This $140,000 grant funding will be used to develop a new one-acre park on a former brownfield site in a neighborhood with no nearby public parks.
  • Chelmsford - Varney Park: The $248,352 grant will fund renovations to Varney Park. Improvements will include new ADA-compliant walkways, creation of a nature trail, exterior and interior renovations to the field/bath house, a new boat dock and construction of a relocated basketball court.

“This $140,000 is a real boost for the City of Brockton,” Congressman Stephen F. Lynch said. “This grant will allow the City to revitalize vacant land and provide the community and future generations with a beautiful public park to enjoy. I commend the National Park Service, the Patrick Administration, the Brockton Mayor’s Office and the Brockton Redevelopment Authority on this important investment in park projects.”

“It is welcomed news that the Town of Boxford has received a $250,000 federally assisted Land and Water Conservation grant to acquire and protect 46 acres of environmentally sensitive land. I am pleased that the Governor has facilitated this award to Boxford and that my office was able to assist Greenbelt and the Town of Boxford in this project so that residents can continue to enjoy the extensive recreational benefits of the property,” said Congressman John Tierney.

“Creating and renovating green-space and public parks is an excellent way to revitalize neighborhoods and promote outdoor activities and community engagement. This funding is the result of strong partnerships across federal, state and local government and will help preserve and protect some of the great natural and recreational spots in Chelmsford. I will continue to be a strong advocate for full funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund in Congress,” said Congresswoman Niki Tsongas.

“As Brockton continues to grow and attract new families to the city, it’s important that we are able to provide accessible outdoor space to enjoy the pleasures of nature,” said Senator Thomas P. Kennedy. “The funds to develop the new park area will create a treasured community resource and will greatly enhance the Warren Avenue and Bartlett Street neighborhood with additional and welcomed green space.”

"Puffer's Pond is a beloved spot for residents of the greater Amherst area," Senator Stan Rosenberg said, "and I'm sure that the improvements this grant will finance will be warmly received by visitors to the Pond. I appreciate the Patrick administration's willingness to make this investment."

“The 46 acres that includes shoreline property on Hovey’s Pond will provide generations of long lasting and positive benefits, where people will be able to foster a true appreciation of nature by simply hiking several of the trails maintained and offered to the public,” said Senator Tarr, who represents the Town of Boxford in the Senate. “Not only the town, but the region will be greatly enriched with the additional acreage of habitat by allowing both wildlife and people to enjoy the environment cooperatively.”

“Public parks add immensely to the quality of life in our communities,” said Representative Cory Atkins. “I am glad that Chelmsford will benefit from this grant.”

“A nice feature of the plan calls for making it easier for people with disabilities to enjoy Varney Park,” said Senator Mike Barrett.

“I would like to thank Governor Patrick and Secretary Bartlett for providing the necessary funding to improve an area in the City of Brockton, which is adjacent to downtown, with a park that the local residents can enjoy,” said Representative Michael D. Brady

“The development of Ralsco Neighborhood Park on a former brownfield site will drastically recondition this area,” said Representative Claire D. Cronin. “This funding will allow a once hazardous area to transform into an open one-acre public park for our community.”

“I want to thank Governor Patrick for his support. The enhancements to Varney Park in Chelmsford will further enhance the public’s enjoyment of the park, whether by taking a walk along the new nature trail, benefiting from the convenience of a renovated bathhouse, or utilizing the extra amenities and improved access points,” said Representative Thomas A. Golden Jr.

“These grants not only protect natural resources , they also make the Commonwealth a more desirable place to live,” said Representative Lenny Mirra. “Boxford will truly benefit from having this land near Hovey’s Pond protected and added to their existing open space.”

“Parks and open spaces encourage families to get outdoors and to be active,” said Representative David Nangle. “They also provide a place for the community to come together and are often a source of pride in their neighborhoods. This grant will undoubtedly allow the town of Chelmsford and its residents the chance to enjoy the benefits Varney Park has to offer for years to come.”

“Puffer’s Pond is a fun community hub that serves the Town of Amherst at all times of year, even in the dead of winter during the annual ‘Puffer’s Plunge’. This grant will go a long way in making Puffer’s Pond more accessible and enjoyable for all residents of the Town of Amherst,” said Representative Ellen Story. “I am very grateful to EEA and the Governor for recognizing the importance of Amherst’s efforts to maintain this treasured site.”

“Through use of the LWCF Program, the City of Brockton is able to stabilize the neighborhood by converting a vacant abandoned Brownfield site into urban green space to be utilized by residents of the neighborhood,” said Mayor Bill Carpenter. “The City is matching the $140,000 state grant with $100,000 of Community Development Block Grant money, combining state and federal resources with the City’s tax title acquisition of the property. This project represents the Patrick Administration’s continued support of recreating inner-city green space.”

“Greenbelt is pleased to have played a significant role in this important conservation effort,” said Greenbelt Executive Director Ed Becker. “Our ability to provide technical assistance to our partners, as well as our flexibility to temporarily acquire the property on behalf of the Town in order to meet a critical deadline, enabled Boxford to leverage significant funding for land preservation. We look forward to officially conveying the property to the Town of Boxford, and to the public’s use of the property’s extensive trail system for hiking and horseback riding.”

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