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Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Announces $8.7 Million to Support Local Parks, Land Conservation

Grant awards to municipalities and land trusts will support the acquisition and conservation of over 676 acres of land.
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  • Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces $8.7 Million to Support Local Parks, Land Conservation

Craig Gilvarg, Press Secretary

BostonThe Baker-Polito Administration today announced more than $8.7 million in grant awards to municipalities and land trusts to support the acquisition and conservation of over 676 acres of land throughout the Commonwealth. The grants, awarded through four separate grant programs, will fund 46 projects in 35 communities, creating or renovating 20 parks and supporting projects to help farmers and forest landowners improve the management of soils and natural resources.

“Massachusetts’ open spaces are a significant asset to our state, providing recreational opportunities to residents across the Commonwealth while also helping to build resiliency to the impacts of climate change,” said Governor Charlie Baker.  “Our administration is proud to fund these important efforts that will create new parks, support the agricultural community, and conserve critical natural resources.”

“The ongoing pandemic has made clearer than ever the significant benefits outdoor spaces offer Massachusetts residents, including for physical and mental health,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.  “These grants allow us to partner with municipalities and land trusts across the Commonwealth to support important local projects to conserve critical natural resources and improve recreational opportunities.”

The grants were awarded through the Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (LAND), Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC), Conservation District Innovation, and Conservation Partnership grant programs, administered by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

The administration awarded $5,295,711 to 20 municipalities through the PARC Grant Program, established in 1977 to assist cities and towns in acquiring and developing land for park and outdoor recreation purposes.  Any community with an up-to-date Open Space and Recreation Plan is eligible to apply for the program. Since 2015, under the Baker-Polito Administration, 188 PARC grants have been awarded, totaling $36,129,972 in grant funding to create or restore municipal parks.

The administration also awarded of $2,676,785 to 11 municipalities through the LAND Grant Program, which was established in 1961 to assist municipal conservation commissions in acquiring land for natural resource protection and passive outdoor recreation purposes.  Any municipal conservation commission with an approved Open Space and Recreation Plan is eligible to apply for the program. Since 2015, under the Baker-Polito Administration, the program has protected 3,857 acres with grants totaling $13,330,559.

“These programs enable municipalities and land trusts to protect land across the Commonwealth that provides critical habitat to rare species as well as climate resiliency,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides.  “Our communities and land trust partners are increasingly valuable allies in our effort to conserve critical natural resources across the Commonwealth, and we look forward to working with them to support these important projects.”

The Conservation Partnership Program awarded grants to eight municipalities totaling $495,170. The program provides funding to assist non-profit organizations in acquiring interests in lands suitable for conservation or recreation purposes. Over the past ten years it has granted $6,128,487 to 97 projects conserving 3,033 acres.

Through the Conservation District Innovative Projects program, the administration announced a total of $230,000 to support seven projects. The Conservation Districts will work in partnership with local, state and federal agencies on soil and water conservation issues, and the projects will help implement locally prioritized conservation projects. Projects include local education efforts to on the ground soil health and conservation projects on agricultural lands. It has provided $1.23 million to 45 projects since its inception.

Conservation districts are not-for-profit entities comprised of locally elected boards dedicated to the conservation of natural resources within a County, that work cooperatively with forest and farm owners and with municipal, state and federal agencies to conserve natural resources at the local level by promoting best management land practices.

“The lands supported by these grants sequester carbon, protect drinking water, provide essential habitat, support local farming and food production, and provide us all with beautiful open spaces that enhance our quality of life,” said State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “Funds invested through these grants will pay major dividends, thanks to the innovation, leadership and commitment of a wide array of municipal and organizational partners.”

“Public parks are such vital community resources, especially in historically-underserved urban core communities like Chelsea,” said State Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett). “I am thrilled that this PARC Grant will be used for the renovation of the Mace Tot-Lot, and these updates will help to ensure that our youngest children have a much-needed and fun space to recreate safely in our neighborhood.”

“I am pleased to see how this grant will help with preserving more land dedicated to outdoor use for our citizens,” said State Representative Brad Hill (R-Ipswich). “This is especially important during this day in age with so many trees coming down and buildings going up. After seeing so many people get outside since the pandemic started it is clear we need to preserve more land during times like these and throughout our future.”

“These grants are greatly appreciated and timely. Now more than ever, do we see the importance of safe, clean outdoor space for our children and families; especially in our environmental justice communities where recreation space is limited,” said State Representative Dan Ryan (D-Charlestown). “I want thank the Baker-Politico Administration for their cooperation on these precious pieces of parkland.”

The following municipalities were awarded LAND grants:


Project Name

Project Description

Grant Award


Taggart Land Acquisition

The project will support passive recreation and forestry in an upland forest near the Still River Tributary, with ponds feeding a cold water fishery.



Roslindale Wetlands Addition

The project will offer habitat protection and trail connections in the property, which is in the top 5 of Boston’s land acquisition priority sites and is the largest unprotected property in the Roslindale Wetlands Urban Wild.



McGuerty Road Aquifer Protection

The project will support habitat for rare species and will expand the 400-acre tract of preserved land around the town’s main wellfield. The property is entirely within land designated as Zone II.



Russells Mills Land Conservation

The project will promote trail connections to adjacent protected land and preserves habitat for rare species, water resources and farmland soils of statewide importance.



Emery Parcel

The project will support an existing trail system, frontage on Salmon Brook, and abuts protected land, including the town's wells and Helen S. Hogg Conservation Area.



Chickatawbut Woods

The project will provide link between city conservation land and over 500 acres of conserved land. The property secures a trail connection for several neighborhoods. 



Kamon Conservation Project

The project will preserve land around Bull Brook and the Mile Lane wellhead, creating trail connections and protecting land designated as Zone A, C, and II.



Town Forest Acquisition

The project will support forest management and expand the 450+ acres of the Town Forest. The area filters Wekepeke Brook, a tributary to the Nashua River.


New Braintree

Wespalis Farm Conservation Acquisition

The project will protect farmland and woodland and preserves the town’s agricultural heritage. The land will be managed as a working farm and borders 324 acres of the West Brookfield Wildlife Management Area.


West Springfield

Pohl Acquisition

The project will preserve a fragmented wildlife corridor, as well as the headwaters of Block Brook. The land contains uplands and wetlands.



Heron Pond

The property will protect one of the largest unprotected parcels left in the Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary. The area contains Core Habitat and augments natural recreation opportunities in an urban setting.



The following municipalities were awarded PARC grants:


Project Name

Project Description

Grant Award


Mission Hill Playground

The project will include a reconstructed natural turf baseball field, new fencing, and player benches; an inclusive children's play area with a water spray area and an Adventure Track; a basketball mini-sports court; new benches, shrubs, and trees; paving of the parking lot and pedestrian path; and curb improvements.



Lewis Field Renovation, Stage II

The project will include a 1.1 mile walking/running path along the park's perimeter. 



Mace Tot Lot Renovation

The project will install two age 2-5 playground structures, a new splash pad, rubber surfacing, site electrical, water, and drainage utility lines, a pergola, and site amenities.



Mt. Tom Trailhead Park Development

The project will include the development of a new park with a parking area; an accessible trail; a picnic, viewing, and gathering area; shrubland habitat restoration; Little Mountain loop hike; and a New England Scenic Trail connection.


Fall River

Cathy Assad Tot Lot and Playground

The project will include the addition of new playground equipment, basketball court, accessible park benches, an outdoor spray park, fencing, and tree plantings.



Sam Pawlak Playground/Parkhill Park

The project will include site work and drainage, safety surfacing, equipment installation and upgrade to make the park exceed accessibility requirements, fencing, accessible pathways and seating, plantings, and informational and educational signage.



Plug Pond

The project will include the construction of a new playground with fencing, improvements to the entry road, installation of a wooden guardrail and bathroom facility, signage, picnic tables, shade canopy structures, and 20 shade trees.



Storrow Park Phase 2

The project will include improvements to the park's pathway system, increasing safety and accessibility, as well as integrating the wooded hillside with the park's flat upland by extending play and recreational opportunities down the hillside to Prospect Street.



Towtaid Park

The project will include the removal and replacement of the basketball/ pickleball/ handball court, fencing, and resurfacing and restriping of the parking lot.



Johnson Street Skatepark Renovation

The project will include the replacement of the existing skatepark and replace it with a new one and expand it onto the existing tennis courts, plant 6-8 trees, and the addition of a parking lot.



Barry Park

The project will include the installation of a splash pad, plantings, creation of an enclosed soccer and volley/pickleball court, and an expanded parking lot.



Woolie World Improvement Project Phase II

The project will replace the aging play structure for 5-12 year olds with an inclusive play structure.


New Bedford

Abolition Row Park Phase 2

The project will create a public greenspace out of a vacant blighted lot that will focus on the 19th century abolition movement with educational features and 21 trees.



Ambrose Park

The project will include the installation of new inclusive play structures, entry gates, fence toppers, security lighting, safety surfacing, perimeter ADA walkway, benches, 5-8 shade trees, and parking.



Loon Pond

The project will include a non-motorized boat launch, accessible fishing peninsula, pedestrian trails, utility connections for a future restroom building, and picnic amenities.



Glen Echo Park

The project will install a motorized timed metal gate at access point, pave the parking lot, create historical and environmental signage, and concrete pads for picnic tables and grills.



Riverside Park Phase III

The project will address critical safety issues, install a well and pump to make water available for recreation programs, and plant hardy trees and shrubs.



Windsor Court & Playground Renovation

The project will construct a playground and renovate the court into a half-basketball court and pickleball court.



Grenville Park

The project will install a groundwater mitigation system at the main entrance to the park to allow for the use of the baseball fields, a retaining wall in right field, and wooden fence.



Coes Pond Beach

The project includes construction of ADA accessible walkways, building an accessible parking area, implementation of an accessible canoe/kayak launch, upgrades to the stormwater management system, utility and environmental upgrades, park edge improvements, and site amenities. 




The following Land Trusts were awarded Conservation Partnership grants:






Brewster Conservation Trust

Slough Pond Preservation Project


The project will protect land that is within the town's Zone II wellfield protection area and has 370 feet of shoreline along Slough Pond, contains 100% BioMap2 Core, and will expand on an already protected open space corridor.


Essex County Greenbelt Association

Artichoke River Woods

West Newbury

The project will permanently protect land for drinking water purposes, wildlife habitat, intact forests, scenic landscapes, climate resiliency, and passive recreation.


Greater Worcester Land Trust

MidState Interstate Trail Route 9 Crossing


The project will secure the critical highway crossing of the MidState Trail across Route 9 through the purchase of a trail easement.


Harwich Conservation Trust

Deacon Folly Road


This project will stop the development of a subdivision enabling the expansion of a wildlife corridor of 75 acres and protect drinking water supplies.


Mattapoisett Land Trust

Santos Farm Project


The project will connect two large blocks of conservation land, enhancing the flow of wildlife and people between them.


Metacomet Land Trust

Peppercorn Hill Kelly Property


The project will expand an existing permanently protected area of 400 acres that is priority habitat for great laurel (a threatened species) and preserve/enhance trail-based passive recreation opportunities for the residents of Upton, Hopkinton, and Milford.


Sipson Island Trust

Lot 10 Sipson Island Land Acquisition


The project will purchase the southernmost parcel of Sipson Island - the last remaining, unprotected vacant lot that will complete the effort to preserve and restore natural habitats to the island by removing all dwellings except for one cottage.


Westport Land Conservation Trust

Herb Hadfield Conservation Area Expansion


The project will be added to the Herb Hadfield Conservation Area and includes 14 acres of open fields and 29 acres of woodlands, including 9.5 acres of deciduous swamp, much of which drains into Angeline Brook, a designated Coldwater Fisheries Resource.




The following conservation districts have been awarded Conservation District grants:




Grant Awards

Franklin Conservation District

River Corridor Mapping and Priority Project Outreach to Landowners

River Corridor Mapping in Sawmill River Watershed follow up, assessing the entire Sawmill River.  A second area of focus will be project outreach to farmers and forest owners.


Worcester Conservation District

Healthy Soils Initiative

Work with NRCS to implement good soil and habitat conservation practices on the agricultural, forestry and developed landscape. Provide technical assistance, outreach and education to Worcester County landowners, students and citizens to help them maintain soil health, protect water quality, and promote wildlife habitat.


Dukes Conservation District

Education Workshops

Our funding request includes $3,300 for a series of workshops and outreach initiatives to be held over the course of the upcoming summer and fall, possible extending into summer 2021.


Berkshire Conservation District

Phase 2 of Nutrient Management Initiative program

The goals of this program are to enlighten landowners about the statutory nutrient regulations which will assist them in efforts to reduce excess nutrients washing into neighboring wetlands through runoff from lawns, pasture and farmland within the Berkshire Conservation District.


Cape Cod Conservation District

Quantitative Vegetation and Geospatial Data Inventory for Three Saltmarsh Restoration Projects

The goal of this project is to provide geospatial and plot specific data baseline data for three saltmarsh restoration projects totaling 32 acres.  The two largest sites are Eagle Neck Creek Marsh and the Pamet River System in Truro; the 2-acre site is the Crosby Lane Marsh in Brewster. The three sites have received extensive federal, state, and local partnership participation and funding:


Middlesex Conservation District

Farm Manure Waste Stream Recycling in Middlesex County  

The grant will provide the Middlesex Conservation District (MCD) with the funding necessary to publicize findings, offer educational opportunities to landowners, and pilot any projects resulting from the research conducted under the FY 2020 grant. 


Plymouth County Conservation District

Small Scale Farm Manure Management Technical Assistance

The Small-Scale Farm Manure Management Technical Assistance Project will build upon the PCCD FY20 EOEEA Innovation Grant to provide educational programming and technical assistance to small farms



This funding builds on the Baker-Polito Administration’s efforts to protect and preserve critical natural resources while preparing for and mitigating the impacts of climate change through land conservation. In September, 2020, the Baker-Polito Administration announced $11.1 million in grants to cities and towns through the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program, including a land conservation project in Littleton, bringing the total state investment in climate change resilience through the MVP program to over $44 million since 2017. The administration also announced $225,000 in grant funding to eight municipalities and a regional economic development organization to support forest stewardship and conservation, trail improvements, and nature-based tourism in the Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership region.  Collectively, the grants announced today and others from EEA help communities, land trusts, and other organizations partner with the Commonwealth to protect and care for our natural resources.


Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces $8.7 Million to Support Local Parks, Land Conservation

Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs 

EEA seeks to protect, preserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s environmental resources while ensuring a clean energy future for the state’s residents. Through the stewardship of open space, protection of environmental resources, and enhancement of clean energy, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs works tirelessly to make Massachusetts a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family.