Press Release

Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Awards over $10 Million for Park and Open Space Projects

Funding Will Help 43 Grantees Develop Parks, Protect Conservation Areas, and Conserve Natural Resources
For immediate release:
  • Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards over $10 Million for Park and Open Space Projects

Craig Gilvarg, Director of Communications

BOSTONBuilding on efforts to enhance and protect natural resources, the Baker-Polito Administration today awarded $10,090,749 in grant funding for park improvements, open space acquisitions, and land conservation projects in 37 Massachusetts communities and six conservation districts. The grants, funded by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ (EEA) capital budget and administered through several programs, including the Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC), Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (LAND), Conservation Partnership, and Conservation District Innovation Grant Programs, will help municipalities and land trusts in their efforts to protect land for future generations for outdoor recreation purposes. The announcement was made by Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito at the City of Lowell’s South Common as part of the Administration’s celebration of Climate Week in Massachusetts.

“Massachusetts has great open spaces and natural resources that not only provide recreation and access to the great outdoors, but make the Commonwealth more resilient to the impacts of climate change,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Our Administration has made land conservation and local park improvements a key priority since coming into office in 2015, and our proposal to direct $100 million of federal relief funding into parks and open spaces will allow us to invest even more resources into these important projects, especially in Gateway Cities and underserved communities that need better access to green spaces.” 

“Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, access to the state’s green spaces and parks has never been more important to residents in every community across the Commonwealth,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The PARC, LAND and Conservation Partnership programs all play a critical role in ensuring the public has many opportunities to explore and enjoy natural recourses that are available close to home, and we’re proud to work with partners in municipalities across the Commonwealth to support these park improvement projects.”

The Administration awarded $8 million through the PARC Grant Program to support 24 projects that will support the development of parks and outdoor recreational assets. The program was established in 1977 to assist cities and towns in acquiring and developing land for parks 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, the Administration has awarded $47 million to 153 projects to acquire land for and build new parks, and renovate existing ones.

Additionally, the Administration awarded $1.2 million to four projects through the LAND Grant Program. The program was established in 1961 to assist municipal conservation commissions in acquiring land for natural resource protection and passive outdoor recreation purposes. Since 2015, the Administration has awarded more than $16 million to support 75 projects that have permanently protected more than 4,576 acres.

“Through these programs, the Baker-Polito Administration is partnering with local communities and land trusts to protect critical open spaces and support the acquisition and restoration of local parks that provide important access to the outdoors, especially in our urban communities and Gateway Cities,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “The enthusiasm and joy residents across our Commonwealth have for these special places and the strong desire to get outside throughout the pandemic demonstrate the need for even greater investments in resilient lands, natural resources, and outdoor recreation through Governor Baker’s ARPA spending plan.”

The Administration also awarded $740,000 to support nine projects through the Conservation Partnership Grant program. The program provides funding to assist non-public, not-for-profit corporations in acquiring interests in lands suitable for conservation or recreation purpose. Since 2015, the Administration has awarded $4.5 million to support 64 projects that have permanently protected more than 2,300 acres of land.

Additionally, the Conservation District Innovation Grant Program also offers funding to any of the conservation districts across the state to help conduct outreach and education, and implement new and innovative ideas for projects. The funding will also enable Conservation Districts to implement innovative projects to improve soil health, enhance carbon sequestration, and increase climate resilience.

“Investing in parks and open spaces represents one of the most impactful means of improving quality of life in a community, and I am grateful for the Baker-Polito Administration’s continued commitment to partnering with municipalities to support park improvement projects,” said Lowell City Manager Eileen Donoghue. “The support received through the PARC grant program will enable the City of Lowell to undertake significant enhancements to South Common and ensure that the historic park meets the current recreational needs of Lowell residents.”

“These grants represent important open space investments in communities all across the Commonwealth,” said State Senator Ed Kennedy (D-Lowell). “In Lowell, the award will allow the city to continue phase two of the South Common Master Plan by redoing the walking paths and center field.  I want to thank the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs for their administration of these important programs.”

“Thank you, Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito, for your invaluable assistance in securing these vital funds to protect and preserve our natural environment and expand our green space in the City of Lowell,” said State Representative Vanna Howard (D-Lowell). “Lowell needs more green space; and this is another great step towards that goal.”

Grantees of the programs are:

PARC Grant Program Awardees:






Quigley Park

The project will include the installation of 2-5 and 5-12 age group play structures, a dish swing, a multisport goal with painted graphics on asphalt, bike racks and recycling barrels, new splash pad, rubber safety surfacing, new utilities, and shaded seating areas.



Blunt Park

The project will include the installation of an accessible splash pad, accessible connections to existing park amenities, and development of a woodland trail system.



Devir Park

The project will include the construction of a softball field, benches, and bleachers, soccer field, an accessible walkway, new parallel parking, new basketball courts, drainage improvements, playground improvements, and new trees.



Reservoir Park

The project will include a new playground and court renovations, accessibility upgrades, exercise equipment, as well as seating, trash receptacles, and walking path signage.



Somerville Junction Park

The project will include planting trees and adding a splash pad, fitness area for teens and adults, and community gardens.



Winthrop Playground

The project will include basketball and multisport courts with new fencing, an inclusive children's play area, a water spray area, an exercise circuit, new benches, game tables, and tree plantings.



Sprague Pond Shoreline Reserve

The project will include the acquisition of a 1.15 acre parcel on the shores of Sprague Pond where the city may potentially develop a shoreline path.

Up to $387,164


Skate Park

The project will transform a parking lot into a new skatepark, creating newly dedicated parkland.



South Common Phase II

The project will include improvements to the central field, creation of an accessible route to the surrounding walking track from the parking lot, and minor repairs to the walking track at the park.



Capillo Park McCann Fields

The project will design and build a skatepark and handball court with a connecting path, and playground features.


Fall River

Kennedy Park Tennis/Pickle Ball Courts

The project will include renovating four tennis courts and the creation of the city's first official pickle ball courts.



Buckland Recreation Area Pool

The project will include the rebuilding of a public swimming pool at the Buckland Recreation Area.



Partridge Brook Park Phase II

The project will include an ADA skate park, roller/street hockey rink, soccer, lacrosse, flag football fields, playground, solar trash cans, trails, and the walkway along Partridge Brook, tree planting, educational signage, and public playing areas.



Barry Park

The project will remove the existing bleachers, install accessible seating, expand pervious surfaces in the park, and increase the number of shade trees.



Accessibility and Inclusion Park Renovation Project

The project will install safety surfacing at Harmon, Gibson, and Costa Parks, as well as the planting of shade trees.



Jenney Pond Park

The project will improve public access to Jenney Pond, Pilgrim Trail, and connect to Holmes Park.



Barrett Park Phase II

The project will include the installation of playground equipment and an expanded picnic area.



Bailey Brook Park

The project will include the installation of a multi-sport court area and a play-trail feature, which will be accessible to children of all abilities.



James Street EcoCampus Hub

The project will make improvements to James Street Park that includes pathways, stormwater improvements, parking, and a woodland boardwalk.





Camp Harrington Acquisition

The project will acquire the former YWCA Camp Harrington and develop the site for recreational use.



Plymouth Street Recreational Facility

The project will reconstruct and reimagine the existing playground into a fully accessible and ADA-compliant one with a shade structure, tables and trees.



Butterfield Park Renovation

The project will include improvements to the basketball and pickleball courts.



Conant Park Improvements

The project will include improved accessibility to the park with a walking path and a splash pad.



Herlihy Park

The project will include accessibility improvements to restrooms, the pavilion, and concessions area and the driveway and parking lot.



LAND Grant Program Awardees:


Project Name

Project Description

Grant Award


Reservation Road

The project will protect open space, wildlife habitat, and public access to Mt. Tom.



Blackwater Memorial Forest

The project will protect land coming out of Chapter 61A, a 4-acre cranberry bog, 8-acres of a spring-fed pond, Sampson's Brook, and 36-acres of surrounding hilled/forested uplands.



McCarthy Farm

The purpose of the acquisition is to permanently protect 36.3 acres of land known as McCarthy Farm, which was until recently a working family farm.



Old Colony Pathway Addition

The beech-maple-oak forest is BioMap2 Core Habitat and will support the Provincetown Greenway, a corridor between the densely-developed downtown and the open dunes of the National Seashore.



Conservation Partnership Grant Program Awardees:



Project Name

Project Description

Grant Award

Rochester Land Trust

Doggett Brook Conservation Project

The project will protect ecological, agricultural, and water resources and provide public access to the property, as well as connections to adjacent conservation lands for outdoor passive recreational activities.


Orleans Conservation Trust

Henson's Cove Conservation Area Project

The parcel will complete the creation of the 23-acre Henson Cove Conservation Area with saltwater frontage, which provides climate resilience, and is suitable as a nesting area for northern diamondback terrapins and eastern box turtles with its fresh and saltwater wildlife habitats.


Essex County Greenbelt Association

Corliss Hill Conservation Project

The project will preserve Haverhill's drinking water supply, rare species habitat, and working farmland.


Brewster Conservation Trust

Red Top Forest Trail Link

The property is notable for its habitat for rare and native species, adjacency to BCT and Town of Brewster conserved lands, and connectivity between existing public trail systems on 65 and 51 acres, respectively.


Buzzards Bay Coalition

Hammett Cove Saltmarsh Conservation Project

The project will permanently protect a 13-acre parcel of undeveloped land on Hammett Cove near the village center of Marion, containing upland forest, pristine saltmarsh, and critical wildlife habitats.


Kestrel Land Trust, Inc.

Lampson Brook Forest

The project's two forested parcels were once part of the State School at Lampson Brook, which are currently used by the local community, comprised of a network of recreational trails and logging roads, mature and managed woodlands, expansive wetlands, and views of the surrounding valleys and the Mt. Holyoke Range.


Greater Worcester Land Trust

Packachoag Spring Site

The project is being submitted in partnership with the Nipmuc Community to help protect the historically significant site that will be co-managed and used as a contemplative and meditative site.


Truro Conservation Trust

Pond Village Preserve Expansion

The project will support the protection of a pine/oak woodland, habitat for species of conservation concern, water resources, land with historic and scenic character, and expand on existing protected open space.


Harwich Conservation Trust

Hinckleys Pond - Herring River Headwaters

The one-acre acquisition will help leverage preservation of a greater 31-acre land assemblage and enable the future ecological restoration of a retired cranberry bog.



Conservation District Innovation Grant Awardees:


Project Name

Project Description

Grant Award

Berkshire Conservation District

Berkshire Pollinator and Native Plant Initiative

Grant funds will be used to implement the Pollinator and Native Plant Initiative with the goal of supporting and promoting greater adoption of pollinator habitats, improving healthy soil practices across all landscapes, and increasing the number of pollinator-friendly communities.


Dukes Conservation District

Building Community Awareness, Interest and Support for Agriculture

Funds will be used for a series of workshops and outreach initiatives to be held this fall and over the winter.


Franklin Conservation District

Library-Based Conservation Outreach & Education, plus Pollinator Model Project

The project will develop & deliver an educational outreach program at participating public libraries across Franklin County. The educational content will focus on many facets of "resiliency" – including healthy soils, climate change, pollinator habitat, and food security – and will target all populations within the county, adults and children alike, with particular attention to underserved communities and urbanized areas. To attract interest, the program will also involve the creation of pollinator gardens at a few libraries.


Hampden Hampshire Conservation District

Healthy Soils & Urban Agriculture Education and Outreach

The District will use grant funds to work with local libraries, schools, and other identified agencies to promote: Healthy Soils (commercial farming; suburban and urban lawns, yards and gardens; public and private forests, parks and other open or green spaces based on the Healthy Soils Action Plan) and Urban Farming to benefit underserved neighborhoods (Springfield and Holyoke). They will also develop and execute a curriculum to teach Soil Health and Urban Agriculture.


Middlesex Conservation District

Conservation Outreach to Maximize Environmental Resilience, Soil Health, Carbon Sequestration, Biodiversity and Landowner Expertise

With grant funds the Middlesex Conservation District (MCD) will provide outreach regarding soil health, organic practices, and carbon sequestration, with the aim of building climate resilience, biodiversity and landowner expertise.


Worcester Conservation District

Healthy Soils Initiative

The Soil Health Initiative will offer soil testing, site visits, and technical assistance to all Worcester County landowners, students, and citizens to help them maintain soil health, protect water quality, and promote wildlife habitat. The District will also work with the NRCS to implement good soil and habitat conservation practices, help implement the Massachusetts Healthy Soils Action Plan, and provide technical assistance and about soil health and other natural resource concerns.


During this year’s Climate Week in Massachusetts, the Baker-Polito Administration is highlighting its commitment to reducing emissions, mitigating the impacts of climate change, and building a more resilient Commonwealth. Throughout Climate Week, the Administration is holding events to spotlight important initiatives including offshore wind, land protection and conservation, the Greening the Gateway Cities program, and the expansion of clean energy in the Commonwealth. The Administration is also highlighting the urgent demand for funding to support climate resiliency in Massachusetts, and Governor Baker’s plan to immediately put to use part of Commonwealth’s direct federal aid from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to support critical priorities in cities and towns. The Administration’s plan would commit $900 million to key energy and environmental initiatives, including $400 million to modernize critical water infrastructure and $300 million to support local climate resilience projects.

On March 26, 2021, Governor Baker signed comprehensive climate change legislation that enshrined the Administration’s target of Net Zero emissions by 2050 into law, significantly increased protections for Environmental Justice communities across Massachusetts, and authorized the Commonwealth to procure an additional 2,400 Megawatts (MW) of clean, reliable offshore wind energy by 2027. In September 2016, Governor Baker signed Executive Order 569 which lays out a comprehensive approach to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard residents, municipalities and businesses from the impacts of climate change, and build a more resilient Commonwealth. In April 2021, the Administration announced it had achieved its goal of investing $1 billion in climate change mitigation in adaptation since 2015 through programs like the nation-leading Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program, which has now enrolled 93 percent of cities and towns in Massachusetts.


Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards over $10 Million for Park and Open Space Projects

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.