For Immediate Release - August 03, 2011

Patrick-Murray Administration Awards Grant for Connecticut River Community Boathouse Project in Northampton

NORTHAMPTON - Wednesday, August 3, 2011 - Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan today announced a $100,000 grant to advance efforts by the City of Northampton to develop the Connecticut River Community Boathouse and Greenway. The project will conserve open space for recreation, meet a significant community demand for rowing, and connect to an existing 25-mile trail network in the region.

"The past four years under the Patrick-Murray Administration have been a huge success for land conservation in the Commonwealth," said Secretary Sullivan. "While other states have virtually eliminated their programs during these difficult times, Massachusetts continues its legacy of conservation and environmental stewardship for future generations."

When completed, in addition to public recreational boating, the boathouse will be used to host youth, college and master rowing programs. Partnering with Northampton in support of the boathouse and greenway project are Smith College Hamp Crew - a rowing program with participants from seven different local area high schools - and Northampton Youth & Community Rowing.

"Northampton is proud to host a boathouse that will serve youth, collegiate and master rowers in addition to recreational boaters," said Northampton Mayor Mary Clare Higgins. "Rowing is already the largest single sport at Northampton High School, which also supports rowers from several other area high schools. We're also facing demand from Smith College, adaptive rowing programs, community kayaking and canoe programs, but the facilities are simply not there to support them. Now they will be."

In addition to acquiring the existing boat basin and canal, the city of Northampton has worked closely with Lane Construction on a planned acquisition of property that will be used to house the remainder of the boat basin and the boat house. The grant announced today represents a critical step forward for this land acquisition and will leverage local funding sources for the next stage.

"I am pleased that the state is teaming up with the city of Northampton to make this investment," said Senator Stan Rosenberg. "This is yet another example of what can be accomplished when all levels of government work together in a spirit of partnership."

"I would like to thank Governor Patrick and Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez for their support for this exciting project which will bring rowing enthusiasts and tourists to the City of Northampton," said Representative Peter Kocot.

Since 2007, the Patrick-Murray Administration has worked with public and private partners to protect 75,000 acres of land and supported 1,600 community-based projects across the Commonwealth. Investing in urban parks is a major focus of the Administration's land protection program and more than 114 parks have been created or restored since Governor Deval Patrick took office.