SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Riverfront Park reopened Wednesday morning after undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation project.
According to City of Springfield Spokesperson, Marian Sullivan, the park, which is located on Hall of Fame Avenue, originally opened in 1977 to celebrate the United States Bicentennial.
Sullivan said the park has been upgraded throughout the years, but the most recent renovations were necessary to improve the infrastructure of the park and protect the floodwall system.
Mayor Domenic Sarno toured the downtown landmark that was closed fourteen months ago for renovations. Mayor Sarno and Park Superintendent Patrick Sullivan are excited about the new Riverfront Park.
“This is really rejuvenating, the Riverfront Park programming it with events, concerts, arts, passive recreation,” said Mayor Sarno.
“It’s basically a park for everyone to enjoy,” said Sullivan. “We have many people living downtown, so now we have a park with a playscape for kids.”
The project had a budget of $3.1 million and included the renovation of Festival Field, new drainage, infrastructure upgrades, fencing, lighting, and picnic tables. The entrance to the park was also upgraded with new walkways and a splash pad/fountain. Also new to the park entrance is a 60-foot flag pole and a 9/11 Memorial, which is set to be unveiled on June 19.
Also reopened Wednesday were Stearns Square and Duryea Way, which also underwent renovations.
Sullivan said the city is working towards eliminating the use of the crossing at State Street to access the park. Over the next six-months people going to the park will be encouraged to use the crossing on Hall of Fame Avenue near LA Fitness or the underpass North of the current entrance. The city is in talks with Amtrak to construct a permanent entry at the underpass.
The renovations at Riverfront Park were funded by a $400,000 PARC grant, $1 million from MGM Springfield, and $1.7 million from the City of Springfield.