Press Release

Press Release  Healey-Driscoll Administration Awards $13 Million for Park and Open Space Projects

Funds will Protect 222 Acres in Environmental Justice Communities
For immediate release:
  • Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

Media Contact   for Healey-Driscoll Administration Awards $13 Million for Park and Open Space Projects

Danielle Burney, Deputy Communications Director

BOSTON — The Healey-Driscoll Administration today announced $13 million for park improvements and open space acquisitions across Massachusetts. The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ (EEA) is awarding Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC), Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (LAND), and Conservation Partnership grants that will support 40 communities. The three programs will help municipalities and land trusts protect land for future generations by conserving 222 acres of land and improving 18 parks in environmental justice communities.  

“Actively investing in open space projects will make our parks more resilient and adaptable to climate change while providing quality and accessible open spaces in environmental justice communities,” said Governor Maura Healey. “We are dedicated to supporting green infrastructure investments in partnership with municipalities and land trusts. These funds will provide beautiful open spaces for residents to enjoy and recreate across Massachusetts.”   

“Accessibility to the state’s natural resources is critical to the health and well-being of all our residents,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “Our collaboration through the PARC, LAND, and Conservation Partnership Grant Programs with communities and land trusts provides families with open spaces to enjoy the outdoors together.”  

The PARC Grant Program was established in 1977 to assist cities and towns in acquiring and developing land for park and outdoor recreation.  Meanwhile, the LAND Grant Program was established in 1961 to assist municipal conservation commissions in acquiring land for natural resource protection and passive outdoor recreation. Lastly, the Conservation Partnership Grants provide funding to assist non-public, not-for-profit organizations in acquiring interests in lands suitable for conservation or recreation. 

“Every community deserves access to safe and beautiful green spaces, especially environmental justice communities,” said EEA Secretary Rebecca Tepper. “These spaces also need to be resilient as weather becomes more extreme. The Healey-Driscoll Administration is committed to investing in outdoor recreational spaces and parks that are well equipped to handle extreme weather events across Massachusetts.”  

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 $500,000 grant award maximum.  

“We are thrilled the City of Lynn is one of the recipients for this conservation funding and we greatly appreciate the Healey-Driscoll administration’s continued support,” said State Senator Brendan Crighton. “Lynn Common is not only an important part of our City’s history, it is a place where families enjoy recreation year round. It will be wonderful to have the Lynn Common Historic Fountain restored to its former glory for all to enjoy.” 

"I am thrilled that the Crystal Street Conservation Project will be the recipient of this grant. Expanding public access to conservation areas is a big priority,” said State Representative Andy Vargas. “This funding will allow for the conservation of waterfront on Crystal Lake while extending the trail to allow greater public access to the area. I am grateful to the EEA for the opportunity to expand green spaces in Haverhill, and look forward to seeing our community enjoy this space for years to come."  

All communities must have an up-to-date Open Space and Recreation Plan.  Projects receiving grants are: 

PARC Grant Program Awardees 






Holcroft Park 

The project will include renovations to the basketball court and playground; a new pavilion will be installed, along with picnic tables, benches, an embankment slide, and a small playing field next to the basketball court; and entrance, walkway, garden, lighting and fencing improvements. 



Walsh Playground 

The project includes basketball and tennis court upgrades, a universally accessible playground, a water play feature, a ball field, park entrance improvements, a walking path loop and lighting, the addition of shade structures, as well as several dozen new trees and pruning of existing trees.  



212 Congress Park Development 

The project will include an ADA-compliant path, a splash pad, rubber surfacing with tiered stone seating and shade sail, picnic tables, small fountains and tall misting structures, an open lawn, a central plaza that acts as a protected shade structure, perennial planting beds, 15 new trees, a low fence, and educational and interpretive signage. 



Prospect Park 

The project will include demolition and site preparation, earthwork, bridge and kiosk work, parking lot improvements, trail and site improvements, addition of a boardwalk, signage, and plantings. 



Marshall Park 

The project includes constructing a universally accessibly playground, multi-sport courts, and a central pavilion with a concession stand, accessible restrooms, and a shaded picnic pavilion. 



Lynn Commons Historic Fountain Plaza 

The project will bring the park's fountain back online and renovate the plaza.  



Malden River Works 

The project will include shoreline restoration work, site elements such as park benches and bicycle racks, a floating public dock along the Malden River, architectural and engineering consultant fees, and construction management. 



Montague Center Park 

The project will include constructing a playground, parking lot, pollinator and rain gardens, and planting trees. 



Hawes Pool Renovation 

The project will include the complete renovation of the pool facility and splash pad at Endean Playground. 



Pontoosuc Lake Park Improvements Project 

The project will construct a shoreline promenade walkway with seating, picnic tables, an ADA pathway, and a kayak/ canoe launch will be built. 



Salem Willows, Phase II 

The project will remove the expanse of asphalt, pedestrian pathways will be resurfaced and reoriented around a central greenspace, several new trees will be planted, and root zone restoration will be performed for the remaining trees, existing fixtures, including benches and waste receptacles, will be redistributed throughout the site, and conduit will be laid. 



217 Somerville Avenue Pocket Park 

The project will construct a new park with native plantings, including comprehensive tree planting to create a shaded canopy, benches and tables, playground and spray features, and green infrastructure and stormwater management features. 


South Hadley 

Buttery Brook Park Improvements Phase 2 

The project will include walking trails, accessible playground equipment, improved access to shelters and other facilities, disc golf, a concert stage and pavilion, basketball court rehabilitation, environmental enhancements, including stream plantings, new tree plantings, tree removal, and environmental education signs/kiosks, and additional pickleball courts.  



Harriet Tubman Park 

The project includes the installation of a playground and swings, fitness course, picnic pavilion, outdoor classroom, fishing area, water-viewing, open space improvements, tree plantings, and landscaping that will all meet universal design standards. 



May St Park 

The project will include renovating the basketball court, two playgrounds, as well as adding playground rubber surfacing, paved perimeter path, and benches. 



Riverwalk Park 

The project includes constructing the playground area, including earthwork and boulder placement, walkway access, picnic tables, benches, landscaping, and nature‐based‐play equipment, planting trees throughout the park, parking lot porous pavement system, and parking lot decorative lighting. 








Ashfield Tennis Court Renovation 

The project will revitalize Belding Memorial Park by restoring and repurposing the two existing tennis courts. 



Turbesi Park Playground Renovation 

The proposed project includes updating the playground with an interactive modular playscape, new rubber surfacing, and assorted playground equipment. 



Memorial Park Field Lights 

The project will install field lights at Memorial Park on the Pezzella Baseball Field and Lowell Softball Field. 



Town Center Park 

The project will include constructing site amenities associated with the town common. 



Phillip's Park Pickleball Courts 

The project will construct four new pickleball courts. 



Houghton Park 

The project includes the renovation of the park's playground. 



Grenville Park Playground 

The project includes building a pavilion, installing four ADA accessible picnic tables and a two-car ADA accessible permeable parking pad and a six-car permeable public parking pad adjacent to the playground, and one ADA accessible piece of playground equipment. 


LAND Grant Program Awardees  


Project Name 

Project Description 

Grant Award 


Crystal Street Conservation Project 

The purchase of this 35.6-acre property will protect 1,000 feet of water frontage on Crystal Lake, a 175-acre lake that is one of the City’s primary water supplies.  There is currently a central trail system existing on the site; this project will catalyze a trail extension with the existing trail and connections to a landlocked 23.5-acre City-owned parcel that presently lacks feasible public access, contributing to the City's goal of creating a contiguous greenbelt around Crystal Lake. 



Parsonage Hill Conservation Project 

This hardwood forest reflects an understory of hophornbeam and viburnums, ferns, and wildflowers that is remarkably free of invasive species and which hosts a well-used network of trails that connect with adjacent protected lands, including the Essex County Greenbelt Association (ECGA)-owned McPherson Woodlot and Town of Atkinson-owned conservation land. Protection of this forest will also serve to shelter the year-round Camp Brook, a tributary to the Merrimack River. 




Pierce Street Leominster Land Purchase 

This forested property provides a diversity of habitat including vernal pools adjacent to protected agricultural lands to the south and wetlands to the east. The state-protected Massapoag Pond is located just past the Town border in Lunenburg. Confronted with a 22-home subdivision proposed as the alternative, the City is eager to preserve this land as open space. 



Wheeler Holly Preserve CR 

The purchase of a Conservation Restriction (CR) on this 5.5-acre pondfront parcel of pine-oak forest will extend the 22-acre Fuller Farm conservation area owned by the project partner Barnstable Land Trust, Inc. (BLT). A half-mile public walking loop trail will be created on the property, extending the existing 1-mile trail loop. Protecting this land will contribute to maintaining the water quality for three 'Great Ponds', important to ensure the viability of a Town beach and a spawning area for rare mussels and anadromous fish. 



Barker Street Conservation Area 

This 13.3 acres of forested land abuts the Chicopee River, the Red Bridge State Park, and two other town-owned pieces parcels. Preserving this acreage will protect access to approximately 2,500 linear feet of bank associated with the Chicopee River, allowing the existing trail to remain active and available to the public with enhanced maintenance and access. 


West Newbury 

Sawmill Brook Conservation Acquisition  

This project will permanently preserve 32 acres of open space and wildlife habitat designated NHESP Critical Natural Landscape and Core Habitat for rare wetland species.  The property will expand upon the existing passive recreational opportunities offered at the Town’s Pipestave Hill and Mill Pond Conservation Areas, allowing for expanded trails and improved public access. 



Tekoa Narrows Conservation Area 

Conserving this property will secure rare wildlife habitat along a river corridor and improve connectivity among three additional inaccessible town-owned lands. This property will establish public access to the Westfield River for canoeing, kayaking, or tubing, as well as for fishing from a very accessible location. 



St. George Forest 

Protects 14 acres of native deciduous forest withupland and wetland habitat, including an intermittent stream that is part of the Indian Lake watershed, an important recreational waterbody. Conservation of this forested land will maintain water quality, protect groundwater supply, and help mitigate flooding from the increasingly frequent heavy precipitation events. In addition, protecting this large area of tree canopy will mitigate urban heat island effects experienced in Worcester and promote carbon storage and sequestration. 



Therriault Family Conservation Area 

This project will protect 80 acres of NHESP-designated Critical Land, including the cold water fishery of Philips Brook, which is of importance to rare fresh-water species identified in the vicinity. 



Sewell/School Street Land Acquisition 

The protection of this forested 30-acre property will promote and permanently protect public access to existing trails that have been used for passive recreation by town residents for decades in alignment with the Town's Open Space and Recreation Plan (OSRP), which identifies “Protect and provide access to priority parcels through the purchase of land, acceptance of donated land, or implementation of conservation restrictions.” 




Morgan's Pond 

Protection of this 4.75-acre parcel will provide access to a Mill Pond that is easily accessed from the road and opportunities for ice skating and fishing. Blandings and other species of turtle have been sighted on this property, and the protection of this property helps ensure water and habitat value for this mill pond that feeds the Salmon River and Town well-field.  


Conservation Partnership Grant Program Awardees 





Barnstable Land Trust, Inc 

Wheeler Holly Preserve Conservation Project 

A 2-acre pondfront parcel will be acquired to extend the 22-acre Fuller Farm conservation area owned by BLT in the historic Pondsville area of Barnstable and a 1/2 mile walking loop trail constructed through thickly wooded upland on Prime Forest Soils, with pitch pine, white pine, white and black oak, several American holly and American beech. 


Brewster Conservation Trust 

Washington Chase Bog 

The project is notable for 1) wetlands and wetland buffer zone protection, 2) adjacency to State, BCT, and Town of Brewster conserved lands; 3) connectivity between existing public trail systems at Nickerson State Park and Cape Cod Bay; and 4) potential to be the most visible bog to marsh ecological restoration project on Cape Cod, along the historic Old Kings Highway. 


Buzzards Bay Coalition, Inc. 

Douglass - Nasketucket Bay Conservation Project 

The project will protect a 22.25-acre waterfront property, long managed as a tree farm, expanding an important 397-acre contiguous block of conservation land protecting Sconticut Neck. 


Buzzards Bay Coalition, Inc. 

Carvalho Woods Conservation Project 

The land will protect an important coastal perennial stream and connect a regional multi-use recreation path with a large contiguous area of existing protected open space and walking trails that lead to Buzzards Bay. 


East Quabbin Land Trust, Inc. 

Kingdom of Bale Conservation Donation 

This nearly eight-acre property is part of a larger farm that was never developed with a small stand of mixed hardwoods and is currently managed as a hayfield, mowed twice a year, along with abutting parcels to manage for bobolinks.  The western edge of the parcel abuts the Raccoon Hill WMA and is designated as BioMap Critical Natural Landscape.    


Essex County Greenbelt Association, Inc. 

Mount Hunger/ Lyasis Pond 

Most of the property is BioMap Core Habitat: Forest Core and the remainder is BioMap Critical Natural Landscape: Landscape Blocks.  In addition, a portion of the project area is identified as BioMap Local Aquatic Habitat Buffers.  More than half of the project area is identified as Interior Forest, and CAPS ranks the project area among the top 10% of landscapes in the state for Forests and Freshwater Wetlands. 


Harwich Conservation Trust 

Squantum Path Conservation Area 

The 10.29-acre property is an upland pine-oak woodland connecting the Punkhorn Parklands, Robbins Pond, and the Herring River Greenbelt, contains priority habitat for Eastern Box Turtle, and is mapped as a forest of statewide and local importance. 


Harwich Conservation Trust 

Bells Neck Road - Herring River Land Preservation Project 

The property is a mix of pine-oak wooded upland and wooded and shrub wetland bordering the Herring River Marsh that provides a scenic view along Bells Neck Road with 1,180 feet of marsh shoreline along the Herring River Marsh. 


Kestrel Land Trust, Inc. 

Growing Green: Easthampton 

The subject property lies along the south branch of the Manhan River, a tributary of the Connecticut River, and is directly abutting over 50 acres of protected land anchored by the Town of Southampton’s Whitemore Conservation Area and Pascommuck Conservation Trust’s Pomeroy Meadows Conservation Area. 


Metacomet Land Trust 

Maple Farm Wildlife Preserve 

The property consists of 88 acres of upland forest, 16.3 acres of hay fields in active agriculture, 4.4 acres of old field, 2.3 acres of pasture, 1.3 acres of scrub-shrub and forested wetland, 1.3 acres of meadow habitat, and a 3.2-acre impoundment maintained by a dam on Muddy Brook. 


North County Land Trust 

Monomonac Hill Conservation Partnership 

The parcel is within BioMap's CNL, identified as a Local Rare Species Habitat, and directly drains into Lake Monomonac, a Great Pond. 


Orleans Conservation Trust 

Eli Rogers Road Woodland and Watershed Protection Project 

The property is entirely within a Zone II Wellhead Protection Area and abuts 500+ acres of Town of Orleans Water Supply Protection Land. 70% of the property is within Priority Habitat of Rare Species. 


The Compact of Cape Cod Conservation Trusts, Inc. 

Pamet River Bank & Marsh 

This acquisition is strategically located between two existing protected land holdings in the river valley. It preserves frontage along a Scenic River and a Scenic Road identified in the Local Comprehensive Plan. 


Wareham Land Trust, Inc. 

Marks Cove Vista 

Acquisition and preservation of the parcel would provide the opportunity to have a small public parking area and a short trail to a waterfront view area overlooking Marks Cove and the more than 100 acres of existing open space across the waterway. 



Media Contact   for Healey-Driscoll Administration Awards $13 Million for Park and Open Space Projects

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