SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A downtown Springfield park that had been in need of improvements for many years re-opened to the public Thursday.

Pynchon Plaza, which connects Dwight Street to Chestnut Street, officially re-opened Thursday morning, following a nearly $4 million rehabilitation project.

The original park was closed for these many years following acts of vandalism. Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood told 22News, her department’s proximity to the park is an assurance of safety for all who will use the plaza.

“It’ll be a pleasure for for us to kind of keep an eye out if someone does something,” Clapprood said. “We’re right next door I look forward to the day when people can come back down to the civic center and enjoy it.”

For people living in this downtown neighborhood, the completion of the rehabilitated Pynchon Plaza is a godsend, opening fresh possibilities for the Museums and other city amenities to attract attention from outside western Massachusetts.

Springfield resident Jo-ann Buck said, “Now that they’re doing it all over more people from other states will come, there’s so much after that here.”

Revitalizing Pynchon Plaza has been Mayor Domenic Sarno’s vision right along, but he admits he couldn’t have accomplished this without help.

“I want to thank Gov. Baker, I pitched this idea, the state paid $5 million, the city $1.5 million,” Sarno said.

Come springtime 2021, the water will start flowing from the Pynchon Plaza fountain, a centerpiece for the revitalization of a unique park in the center of the city.

The work included removing the old steps and elevator that was installed back in the 1970s. Crews also repaired the fountain, which will be put back into service after the winter. Additionally, grant funding from the National Endowment for the Arts promises to turn the plaza into a “vibrant public space through innovative multi-media art installations.”

Pynchon Plaza is seen as an important link between the Springfield Library and Museums and the rest of the downtown area.