Pocket park playground in Springfield being installed

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – People in Springfield’s McKnight neighborhood came together Thursday morning to build part of a new playground.

The newly developed Westminster Street Children’s Park is being built on a vacant lot of land owned by the city. Volunteers gathered to work on the finishing touches of the park with installing accessible activities so children of all ages and abilities can enjoy the playground.

People who live nearby told 22News, this new park will be a great addition to the neighborhood.

“Usually, we have to go all the way out to Wilbraham for a nice, safe park. This is going to be a nice, safe park for him so it’s very important to my 3 year old for him to ahve a place to go right across the street that’s safe.” Justin Cotton

“You can walk from the neighborhood. It’s not a huge park, it’s a pocket park. If you’re on the street or if you’re a street over, which is a lot of what McKnight is, you can just walk with your kids and it’s right on the sidewalk.” Walter Kroll

Next to be installed will be the grass and landscaping. The city hopes to have that done soon so the park can open up to kids in the near future.

The City of Springfield provided a match to the Community Preservation Act and KaBoom! grants to ensure successful completion of this collaborative project. 

Three organizations helped fund the development with grants of $230,844 from the Community Preservation Act, $100,000 from the City of Springfield Community Development, and $15,000 from KaBoom!. Additional donations were provided by Pride Stores and The Nunes Companies, Inc.

Mayor Sarno stated, “This collaboration between the city, the McKnight neighborhood, and committed private entities is another example of what can be accomplished when we all work together to further enhance our communities.  The improvements made at this park will allow future generations of this neighborhood to enjoy this open space for years to come.  I would like to thank the McKnight Neighborhood Council, Bob Bolduc & Pride Stores, and the Nunes Companies for their contributions to this project.  I appreciate their efforts and allegiance to our city and its future.”

“We are happy to have been the catalyst for this project to all come together and for our significant contribution for this playground for local kids,” stated Bob Bolduc from Pride.

Patrick Sullivan, Executive Director of Parks, Buildings, and Recreation Management said, “This project included installation of accessible playground elements and swings for youth of all ages and abilities, benches, accessible walkways, fencing, irrigation and landscaping. We congratulate Bob Bolduc and the McKnight Neighborhood Council for their vision to create a neighborhood park. This is park project is the best example of the importance of the Community Preservation Funding. Without this funding and the support of Mayor Sarno allocating CDBG funds this project would have never happened.  Future phases of the project include installing an entrance arch, picnic table, sensory play, and site lighting. This new park will provide a comfortable gathering spot for neighborhood residents to relax with their friends and families while children enjoy the playground amenities.”  

McKnight Neighborhood Council president, Walter Kroll, remarked, “This project came from a neighbor’s ask at our McKnight Neighborhood council meeting. It became a real project from partner Bob Bolduc with his generous funding and resources. The city donated the lot, and the Parks Department worked hard to incorporate the neighborhoods requests for special needs children and to ensure the looks of the park fit in with the neighborhood while incorporating safety requirements. We received funding from the CPA to secure the other funding needed to complete the project. It’s fitting that the neighborhood residents will help with a hands on community day to help finish parts of the playground. I’m proud of our board, the partners, the neighbors, the city partners and all that all worked together to deliver something needed and special in our community.”

Terry Rodriguez, Park Commission Chairperson added, “This is a great event for the McKnight neighborhood.  I am especially pleased with the new playground.  This will allow youth of all ages and abilities to enjoy the park.  We are looking forward to the Grand Opening later this year.”

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