Press Release

Press Release Baker-Polito Administration Awards Over $12 Million for Park and Open Space Projects

Funding Will Help 44 Grantees Develop Parks and Protect Conservation Areas
For immediate release:
  • Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards Over $12 Million for Park and Open Space Projects

Troy Wall, Communications Director

BOSTONContinuing its weeklong celebration of Climate Week, the Baker-Polito Administration today announced the awarding of $12,013,525 in grant funding for park improvements and open space acquisitions in 43 Massachusetts communities across the state. The grants, administered through the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ (EEA) Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC), Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (LAND), and Conservation Partnership Grant Programs and funded through the capital budget, will aid municipalities and land trusts to protect land for future generations for outdoor recreation purposes.

“Investing in these important open space projects will make Massachusetts parks more resilient to climate change, increase the availability of open space and improve access to the outdoors for people in communities across the state,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Our Administration is proud to assist communities and land trusts acquire new land for parks and open space that will make available natural resources for children, their friends and family, and others to recreate locally.”

“Increasing access to open space resources throughout the Commonwealth remains a critical investment,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The PARC, LAND, and Conservation Partnership programs all play an important role for ensuring Massachusetts families have access to recreational opportunities where they can spend time together outdoors.”

The PARC Grant Program was 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. The LAND Grant Program was established in 1961 to assist municipal conservation commissions in acquiring land for natural resource protection and passive outdoor recreation purposes. The Conservation Partnership Grants provide funding to assist non-public, not-for-profit corporations in acquiring interests in lands suitable for conservation or recreation purpose.

“These great local projects being awarded through the PARC, LAND, and Conservation Partnership Grant Programs today will significantly help communities in their efforts to be more resilient to the impacts of climate change,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card. “The Baker-Polito Administration has prioritized investing in parks and outdoor recreational amenities that are well designed to handle the more severe weather events that are expected to continue.”

There are two categories of PARC grants: the Small Town grant category for towns with less than 35,000 residents, with a maximum grant award of $100,000, and a separate category for cities and towns with more than 35,000 residents, which has a $400,000 grant award maximum. Below are the PARC Grant Awardees.

PARC Grant Program Awardees:






Tuckahoe Farm Master Plan Improvements

The project will develop the southern trail loop (1,450 linear feet of a 10' wide gravel path), Pine Street north entrance parking lot area and pedestrian footbridge and path, main access drive parking area, and canoe/kayak launch area parking lot, all with shade tree plantings



Hickory Ridge Accessible Riverwalk Loop Trail

The project will develop an 8' wide trail of crushed stone material and two small bridges with signage and split rail fencing



DeMarco Park Universal Accessibility Redevelopment Project

The project will install new pervious parking, driveways, and walkways and install a stormwater system



Renovation of O'Day Playground

The project will renovate the basketball and multi-use court, an inclusive children's play area with poured-in-place safety surfacing, reconstructed water play area, installation of exercise equipment, benches, picnic and game tables, and a shade pavilion, and 8 new trees and other plantings will be planted



Bosson Park Renovation

The project will install 2-5 and 5-12 age play structures, 5 bay swing, multisport goal with painted graphics, bike racks and recycling barrels, splash pad, rubber surfacing within the playground area, site utilities, lighting, seating, and a grassy area



Dedham Town Green

The project will convert this 0.34-acre lot into a signature public space for people to gather on a grassy lawn, on benches, in a public pavilion, and under new shade trees



Nonotuck Park Pool Upgrades

The project will include the installation of a pervious pool deck surface, shade structures and umbrellas, fencing, ADA parking, inclusive playground, accessible path from the playground to the bathroom, bike racks, planting new trees, and demonstration rain garden with interpretive panels



Donovan Park Renovations

The project will include the installation of new play equipment and a misting station, a walking path, and maintaining and raising existing tree canopy



Downtown Common

The project will improve ADA access to the Common by leveling the surface to create a more usable and organized space



South Common Phase III

The project will construct a rain garden, install shade structures, signs, and additional site amenities



Barry Park Playground Improvements

The project will make improvements to the park's playground



Kierstead Park Playground Improvement Project

The project will renovate the playground and surrounding area, including new play elements for ages 2-5 and 5-12, increased tree cover, and colorful poured-in-place rubber safety surfacing



Gillis Park Accessibility Renovation

The project will include the installation of a new accessible park entrance, add an accessible loop path across the baseball field, and improved field drainage



Market Landing Park Expansion

The project includes new park space and pedestrian connections, but also associated public amenities such as new seating, public art and historical interpretive panels



Liberty Park active and passive recreation reconstruction project

The project will include the replacement of the play structure and installation of poured in place rubber safety surfacing



Salem Willows, Phase II Renovation

The project will include the resurfacing of pedestrian pathways, planting of nine new trees, removal of overhead wires, plantings, connection to a pier will be raised 3 feet, and a retaining wall installed



Renovation of Henry Hansen Park

The project will cut farther into the hillside, reverse the seating orientation, install a curved retaining wall that incorporates LED lighting, signage, a gathering plaza with permeable pavers and a water fountain, vegetation and fencing will be installed



76 Central - Acquisition for Pocket Park

The project will acquire land to serve as a pocket park to provide a trail head for a proposed rail trail and help develop a small park



Donna Blake Park

The project will include the installation of an accessible splash pad, playground and picnic amenities, open space improvements, tree plantings and landscaping



New Park @ 69 Sever Street

The project will include constructing accessible access, parking, walking paths, updated environmental areas, seating areas, shelter/arbor, tree plantings,  walkway/public art lighting and locations for the display of public art









Lewis Field Renovation, Part III

The project will make repairs to and expand the usable area of soccer field at Lewis Field through proper leveling, drainage and grading, allowing for greater utilization



Grays Beach Park Playground

The project will include removal and disposal of existing equipment, engineering and site preparation, stormwater improvements, and purchase and installation of a universal playground



Renovation of Harry B. Chase, Jr. Place

The project will include a shade structure, lawn area with benches and shade trees, and signage



VanDyke Playground Renovation

The project includes the installation of four play elements, fencing, benches, picnic tables, bike rack, environmental signage, fencing behind the basketball court, and an accessible pathway from the parking lot to the playground



Rehabilitation of Abbott Playground

The project includes improvements to the swing set, toddler play structure and sitting areas to make them ADA accessible



Memorial Field Improvements

The project will install a highly efficient irrigation system, renovate the basketball court into a full-size court and install lights and benches, and install ADA compliant picnic tables



Lucy Stone Park Educational Interpretation

The project is for the design and construction of educational signage at Lucy Stone Park



Town of Westborough Splash Pad

The project will build a community Splash Pad



The LAND Grant Program was established in 1961 to assist municipal conservation commissions in acquiring land for natural resource protection and passive outdoor recreation purposes.  Additionally, any community with an up-to-date Open Space and Recreation Plan is eligible to apply for the LAND Grant Program. Below are this rounds Land Grant Program awardees.

LAND Grant Program Awardees:






Sargent Road Land


21.4 acres of forest within the Assabet River basin of the Merrimack River Watershed that promotes aquifer recharge and protects the Town’s water supply.  The property has 940 feet of frontage on two designated Scenic Roads and serves as an important wildlife corridor between existing protected land in Boxborough, Littleton and Acton.



Tobey West Conservation Restriction


An 8.1 acre CR would protect land that is part of the historic Tobey Farm on MA Route 6A, founded in 1676 building on the successful conservation of 13 acres and precipitating protection of an additional 1.4 acres in 2024 through agreements with the landowner. The farm has been identified as a 'Priority Heritage Landscape' by the Town.


Fall River

Adirondack Farm Acquisition


A 7.1 acre purchase that will protect land adjacent to North Watuppa Pond, the City's primary source of drinking water.  A BioReserve Environmental Education Center is proposed on adjacent acreage, and this parcel will catalyze educational programming for the 16,000+ acre SE BioReserve.



Casella land


119 acres of diverse habitat wholly within the Petapawag Area of Critical Environmental Concern and designated as a Priority Habitat of Rare Species by NHESP.  An stunning, established trail along an esker creates a natural connection to trails on adjacent protected land surrounding the high school.



Six Ponds Great Woods CR


This 75 acre property is the largest remaining privately-held acreage on the Lower Cape.  Part of the 1,200-acre Six Ponds Special District of Critical Planning Concern, it will contribute to protection of the Town's wellfield area. Existing trails on the property create a ready-made recreational resource.



Jean M. Booker Conservation Area


Conservation of 63.5 acres that create a contiguous tract of permanently protected open space adjacent to the former Monson Developmental Center,  a newly proposed Wildlife Management Area.



Saw Mill Hills Core Conservation Project


A critical 229-acre in-holding at the Sawmill Hills/Roberts Hill Complex encompassing 2,200+ acres of protected land.  The recreation area provides an elaborate network of trails and supports nearly 20 different kinds of natural communities and safeguards the City’s drinking water supply.  Protection of this acreage will help complete the regional ONE trail and provide climate resiliency benefits.



Saw Mill Property Acquisition


52.3 acres that protect approximately ¼ mile of frontage on the Housatonic River and directly serve the city’s efforts to develop a greenway of protected lands for hiking, bird watching, and fishing at the river’s edge.



Ruggels Street Conservation Project


15.4 acres of deciduous woodland, forested wetlands, and perennial stream channels, will promote public access to and use of the existing loop-trail that connects to the adjacent 66-acres of protected open space, recently purchased by the Town.



McDonald Nature Preserve Expansion

This 60.3 acres of NHESP designated Priority Habitat of Rare Species, this property will expand the network of trails and recreational opportunities offered by the adjacent 200+ acres of McDonald Nature Preserve. 



Below are the Conservation Partnership Grant Program awardees for this round.

Conservation Partnership Grant Program Awardees:





Barnstable Land Trust, Inc

Bowles Field Historic Landscape Project

The project will protect Bowles Field, a landmark property and create a sweeping open coastal vista from Commerce Road (town way) to the Sandy Neck lighthouse across the harbor that supports a critically-imperiled (State Rank S1) sandplain grassland, including native little bluestem grass, Cape Cod’s original “prairie grass”


East Quabbin Land Trust, Inc.

Dumas Woodland Acquisition

The project will protect land that abuts previously protected open space on two sides and has its western border formed by Muddy Brook, which is identified as BioMap2 core habitat and critical natural landscape, protects two of the Town of Ware’s drinking water wells, and expands on land conserved within the Dougal Range


Eastham Conservation Foundation

100 Cole Road Conservation Project

The project will expand an existing 5.44-acre open space area (Herring Brook Conservation Area) that surrounds the locus parcel on three sides, protecting core habitat for species of conservation concern and is within an Environmental Justice community


Harwich Conservation Trust

White Pond Preservation Project

The project will protect land within BioMap2 Core, contains Plymouth Gentian, a state-listed species of special concern, focus area for habitat protection for the New England Cottontail, and provides 300+ feet of shoreline on a Great Pond


Kestrel Land Trust

Heronemus Forest Conservation Area

The project will protect a forested parcel with a rolling terrain, exposed rock ledges, and an extensive trail network


Mattapoisett Land Trust, Inc.

Lopriore & Defelice Parcel Conservation

The project will protect forested wetlands and uplands containing oak and swamp maple trees, occasional white pines, and understory typical of southeastern Massachusetts coastal forest



“It is through the commitment of the Baker-Polito Administration that municipalities and Gateway cities like Lowell can invest in green/open space for generations to enjoy,” said Lowell City Manager Tom Golden. “This grant at the South Common will reinvigorate a historic open space in Lowell and provide recreational space for everyone. This grant award reflects the ongoing commitment of the City Council and the Administration to invest in our parks and open spaces. We believe strongly that good parks and playgrounds are essential to quality of life in our community.”

“The PARC, LAND, and Conservation Partnership Grant Programs are tremendous resources, and sources of funding for municipalities to acquire, develop, and protect land for natural resources and outdoor recreation,” said State Senator Edward J. Kennedy (D-Lowell). “Conserving green spaces for shared public use is a major tool in maintaining climate resiliency and the fight against climate change.”

“Thank you to Gov. Baker, Lt. Gov. Polito, and Executive Office of Energy and Environment Affairs for your invaluable assistance in investing, protecting, and preserving our parks and natural environment and expanding our open space across the Commonwealth,” said State Representative Vanna Howard (D-Lowell). “Gateway cities like Lowell need more green open space, and this is another great step towards that goal.”


Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards Over $12 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.

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