PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION HIGHLIGHTS GRANT FOR IMPROVEMENTS TO MALDEN AND MELROSE PARK
Lieutenant Governor Murray joins local officials to celebrate renovation project for community park
"Parks are the centerpieces of our communities, and our Administration understands how such public open spaces can support communities across the Commonwealth," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "Today's announced funding will provide improvements to Pine Banks Park which will enhance the quality of life for families and individuals in Melrose, Malden and the surrounding communities."
Recognizing that public parks are essential to the health and economic well being of urban areas, but that cities often lack the resources to plan and develop them, the Patrick-Murray Administration has supported urban parks, habitat protection and the preservation of working landscapes at historic levels. Over the last four years, the Administration has invested in the creation or restoration of 114 parks across the Commonwealth.
"Under the leadership of the Patrick-Murray Administration, there are 52 new urban parks in Massachusetts," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles. "With the help of local and municipal leaders and community organizations, protecting and maintaining these public spaces will provide accessible facilities for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages."
"I would like to extend my thanks to the Patrick-Murray Administration for this significant investment in what is a great recreational amenity for both the Cities of Malden and Melrose," said Mayor Richard C. Howard of Malden. "Over the years, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has helped subsidize our efforts to expand the recreational offerings to our residents through the creation of more playing fields at Pine Banks Park."
"Melrose and Malden have a common challenge, a lack of a regulation track and not enough playing fields. Now we have found a common solution. The Patrick Administration has championed regionalization as a way for cities and towns to pool their resources and accomplish more than they could on their own," said Mayor Robert J. Dolan of Melrose. "It is because of their guidance and their support, through this grant, that we are able to build this facility, which will benefit thousands of children and encourage healthy lifestyles."
"It's great to see that the state has awarded a $500,000 grant to support improvements for the Pine Banks Park in Melrose and Malden," said Senator Thomas McGee. This funding will help to enhance the Pink Banks Park by increasing the number of parking spaces, and providing a collegiate-level, state of the art track and field complex."
The Melrose/Malden grant is one of seven Gateway City Park initiatives. Gateway City Parks is a flexible program, providing municipal officials with a menu of funding options for all phases of park development. Twenty-two Massachusetts cities are eligible for the program, which targets communities with population greater than 35,000 and median household incomes, per capita incomes and educational attainment levels below the state average. Funding can be used for activities and costs such as Brownfield assessment and cleanup, park planning and recreational needs assessments - including the development of Open Space and Recreation Plans - activities not previously eligible for state parks funding. Cities can also use the grants for the acquisition, design and construction of parks, greenways and other recreational facilities. Funding for both grant programs comes from the Energy and Environment Bond Bill signed by Governor Patrick in August 2008.
Over the past four years, the Patrick-Murray Administration has protected more than 75,000 acres of land - the equivalent 54 acres per day. Among the Administration's conservation accomplishments are the creation of 52 new urban parks, 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.
Massachusetts now has more than 1.2 million acres permanently protected. For the first time in decades, the acres of land protected from development in Massachusetts are greater than acres that have been developed.