For Immediate Release - October 22, 2010

Patrick-Murray Administration Announces Grant for a New Park in Dartmouth

DARTMOUTH - Friday, October 22, 2010 - In keeping with the Patrick-Murray Administration's commitment to urban parks, Energy and Environment Secretary Ian Bowles today announced a grant to construct a new park in Dartmouth.

The grant - $214,020 over two years - funds the construction of a handicapped accessible playground, installation of benches and picnic tables, landscaping and energy efficient LED lighting, as well as the addition of two tot lots.

"This grant ensures years of enjoyment by Dartmouth residents and visitors, and is part of Governor Patrick's unprecedented commitment to land conservation and urban parks," said Secretary Bowles. "The Commonwealth has conserved more than 75,000 acres under Governor Patrick's leadership, and this new park is just one of many created as a result of the Governor's commitment to outdoor recreation for all."

Established in 1977 as the Urban Self-Help program, PARC grants are offered on a competitive basis and reimburse communities between 52 and 70 percent of the total project cost, depending upon the income level and other demographics of municipalities, with a maximum grant award of $500,000. Municipalities receiving PARC grants must have a current open space and recreation plan and an authorized parks and recreation commission, and the land must be under parks commission jurisdiction and be open to the public. Under the leadership of Governor Deval Patrick, there are 52 new urban parks in the Commonwealth.

"Today we celebrate the parks and open spaces that make Massachusetts such a desirable place to live, and Governor Patrick's commitment to preserving and improving them," said Environment Undersecretary Philip Griffiths, who joined municipal and state officials in Dartmouth to celebrate the project.

"Protecting and utilizing the incredible natural beauty of this area is vital toward maintaining happy and healthy communities," said Sen. Mark Montigny. "The second phase of this project is especially important because it will provide greater access to children who cannot utilize and enjoy conventional playgrounds. This award symbolizes the commonwealth's continued commitment toward preserving open space and providing the entire community with a place for recreation."

"The awarding of this PARC grant is great news for the residents of the town of Dartmouth," said Rep. John Quinn. "I want to thank Governor Patrick and Secretary Bowles for understanding that the Dartmouth Community Park project will add a new dimension to the town"

"The town of Dartmouth is excited to have the Commonwealth of Massachusetts join the partnership of the town's park department, library, school department, public works department, Select Board and residents in the development of this community park," said Dartmouth Executive Administrator David G. Cressman. "The park has been primarily funded by Community Preservation funds, which are being leveraged to attain these PARC grant funds. The completed project will be an asset for the community and an example of the cooperative ability of so many groups and individuals."

The Dartmouth grant is one of 21 grants awarded from EEA's Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) program in the latest funding round. Totaling $7.8 million, the PARC grants will help municipal parks and recreation commissions acquire parkland, renovate existing parks or build new parks and other outdoor recreation facilities. Funding for the programs comes from the Energy and Environment Bond Bill signed by Governor Patrick in August 2008.

Recognizing that public parks are essential to the health and economic wellbeing of urban areas, but that cities often lack the resources to plan and develop them, Governor Patrick has made an unprecedented commitment of state support for urban parks, in addition to habitat protection and the preservation of working landscapes.

Over the past four years under the leadership of Governor Patrick, the Commonwealth has protected nearly 75,000 acres of land - the equivalent 54 acres per day and representing an area bigger than the town of Plymouth, which is the largest municipality in the Commonwealth by land area. Among the conservation accomplishments are the creation of 52 new urban parks, the protection of 5,700 acres on 95 farms, preservation of land with nearly 30,000 acres of prime farm and forest soils, and protection of 14,000 acres in 10 areas of critical forested landscape habitats across Massachusetts. In addition, the Commonwealth has protected 9,300 acres within a half mile of drinking water reservoirs across the state.