For Immediate Release - January 10, 2014

PATRICK ADMINISTRATION AWARDS $2.5 MILLION GRANT TO FALL RIVER TO RESTORE FATHER TRAVASSOS PARK

BOSTON – Friday, January 10, 2014 –Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rick Sullivan today announced a $2.5 million grant to restore Father Travassos Park in Fall River, as part of the Patrick Administration’s Signature Urban Parks Initiative. Coupled with the previously announced funding for the Quequechan Trail, a total of $6.7 million has been awarded to Fall River to construct an interconnected network of parks and trails. 

"Urban park investments invigorate neighborhoods and improve the lives of city residents - providing outdoor recreational space for families to enjoy for years to come," said Secretary Sullivan. “The Patrick Administration is committed to strengthening our urban areas through park and trail projects that help to provide great places to work, live, and play.” 

The grant was awarded through the EEA’s Gateway Cities Parks Program. Established in 2009, the program was designed to create parks and enhance recreational facilities in 26 communities, which have been declared Gateway Cities, across the Commonwealth. 

“Through our strong partnership with the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, we will be able to restore the recreational and scenic amenities at Father Travassos Park, thereby empowering the surrounding neighborhood and creating a space that will be enjoyed by people of all ages," said Mayor William A. Flanagan, “This type of investment in our City’s neighborhoods will continue to improve the quality of life of our residents.” 

“This grant is one more shining example of the Patrick Administration’s lasting commitment to reinvigorating Fall River and other Gateway Cities across the Commonwealth,” said Senator Michael Rodrigues. “Urban parks investment has proven to have far-reaching positive impacts on a city; improvements in public safety, community cohesion, and enhanced property values are just a few of the effects we can look forward to. As a result of this investment, current and future generations to come will be able to enjoy the restoration of recreational opportunities and improvements to Father Travassos Park.” 

"I'd like to thank Governor Patrick and Secretary Sullivan for their recognition of the necessary improvements to Father Travassos Park, which will greatly improve the neighborhood and quality of life for our residents,” said Representative Carole Fiola. 

"Since 2012, Father Travassos Park in Fall River's Flint Neighborhood has been on the radar,” said Representative Alan Silvia. “The grant will assist Fall River to see its vision for this beautiful open green space that serves the community and all the youth of our city." 

A portion of the funding for this project comes from a new program intended to strengthen the Patrick Administration’s commitment to urban park investments in the Commonwealth’s 54 cities. The Our Common Backyards Program is helping cities create a new playground or spray park; in this case, a new spray pad will be built at Father Travassos Park. Other improvements to the park include restoration of the playground, soccer field and basketball court. An initial public meeting regarding the reconstruction of the park will be held on January 29, 2014 at 5pm in Fall River City Hall. 

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. 

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. 

To date the Gateway City Parks Program has provided over $46.4 million for park creation and revitalization projects across the Commonwealth. In addition to construction, the grants have supported site assessment and cleanup, surveying, engineering and other services for future park creation or renovation.

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