BOSTON (WWLP) – The Baker-Polito Administration announced a $12 million grant for park improvements and open space additions to 43 Massachusetts communities.

A total of $12,013,525 will be funded by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ (EEA) Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC), Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (LAND), Conservation Partnership Grant Programs, and funded through the capital budget, to aid districts and land trusts to protect land for future generations for outdoor recreation.

Donna Blake Park in Springfield

Donna Blake Park on Pendleton Avenue in Springfield is to receive new funding for renovations. The project cost is estimated to be about $650,000. After a $400,000 grant from the Commonwealth EEA PARC grant program, and $250,000 from a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), the funding was made possible.

Mayor Sarno stated, “PBRM Director Patrick Sullivan and I are grateful to Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, and their administration for their continued belief and investment in our Springfield.  The Commonwealth’s PARC Grant program and the CDBG funding, which we have utilized to enhance and renovate numerous parks throughout our city, are so very important and vital for our municipal park services. We are excited to begin renovations to our Donna Blake Park for our residents and families.”

PBRM Director Sullivan stated, “We are very excited for this project to move forward.  We have worked with the residents of the Old Hill and Upper Hill and the renovations at Donna Blake Park will serve the community well.  We appreciate the Community Development Block Grant funds, administered by Cathy Buono, and the EEA PARC grant program for selecting Springfield’s project to be funded.  These funds are a lifeline to our urban park systems.  The grant award is a tribute to everyone’s input and diligence in developing a comprehensive plan for this urban park.  We look forward to starting plans to renovate this park.  Donna Blake Park offers a positive setting for recreation for all ages and is a key component in ensuring the quality of life for the residents of the city.”

Nonotuck Park Pool in Easthampton

Nonotuck Park Pool on Daley Field Road in Easthampton received $400,000 for updates that include installing a previous pool deck surface, shade structures, umbrellas, fencing, ADA parking, an inclusive playground, and an accessible path.

“We are so pleased to be awarded the PARC grant for the Nonotuck Pool upgrades; this funding will be combined with CPA and City funds to potentially leverage other grant funds. The Nonotuck Pool is the centerpiece of the jewel that is Nonotuck Park. The Nonotuck Pool project would not be possible without the overwhelming support of our Mayor, City Council, Parks and Recreation Commission, CPA Committee, State and Local Legislators, and most of all, the residents of Easthampton for continuing to support our Department. We are looking forward to this process that will bring a pool that meets the needs and serves so many residents, parks guests, and the kids that attend Camp Nonotuck”, said John Mason, Parks and Recreation Director.

PARC Grant Program Awardees:

AgawamTuckahoe Farm Master Plan ImprovementsThe 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$400,000.00
AmherstHickory Ridge Accessible Riverwalk Loop TrailThe project will develop an 8′ wide trail of crushed stone material and two small bridges with signage and split rail fencing$280,000.00
AvonDeMarco Park Universal Accessibility Redevelopment ProjectThe project will install new pervious parking, driveways, and walkways and install a stormwater system$333,500.00
BostonRenovation of O’Day PlaygroundThe 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$400,000.00
ChelseaBosson Park RenovationThe 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$400,000.00
DedhamDedham Town GreenThe 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$400,000.00
EasthamptonNonotuck Park Pool UpgradesThe 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$400,000.00
LawrenceDonovan Park RenovationsThe project will include the installation of new play equipment and a misting station, a walking path, and maintaining and raising existing tree canopy$400,000.00
LeominsterDowntown CommonThe project will improve ADA access to the Common by leveling the surface to create a more usable and organized space$400,000.00
LowellSouth Common Phase IIIThe project will construct a rain garden, install shade structures, signs, and additional site amenities$400,000.00
LynnBarry Park Playground ImprovementsThe project will make improvements to the park’s playground$400,000.00
MaldenKierstead Park Playground Improvement ProjectThe 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$400,000.00
MedfordGillis Park Accessibility RenovationThe project will include the installation of a new accessible park entrance, add an accessible loop path across the baseball field, and improved field drainage$400,000.00
NewburyportMarket Landing Park ExpansionThe project includes new park space and pedestrian connections, but also associated public amenities such as new seating, public art and historical interpretive panels$400,000.00
RevereLiberty Park active and passive recreation reconstruction projectThe project will include the replacement of the play structure and installation of poured in place rubber safety surfacing$330,000.00
SalemSalem Willows, Phase II RenovationThe 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$400,000.00
SomervilleRenovation of Henry Hansen ParkThe 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$375,224.00
Southbridge76 Central – Acquisition for Pocket ParkThe 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$175,000.00
SpringfieldDonna Blake ParkThe project will include the installation of an accessible splash pad, playground and picnic amenities, open space improvements, tree plantings and landscaping$400,000.00
WorcesterNew Park @ 69 Sever StreetThe 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$400,000.00

Small Town:

BrookfieldLewis Field Renovation, Part IIIThe 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$98,000.00
KingstonGrays Beach Park PlaygroundThe project will include removal and disposal of existing equipment, engineering and site preparation, stormwater improvements, and purchase and installation of a universal playground$100,000.00
MansfieldRenovation of Harry B. Chase, Jr. PlaceThe project will include a shade structure, lawn area with benches and shade trees, and signage$65,592.00
SuttonVanDyke Playground RenovationThe 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$85,800.00
SwampscottRehabilitation of Abbott PlaygroundThe project includes improvements to the swing set, toddler play structure and sitting areas to make them ADA accessible$100,000.00
WareMemorial Field ImprovementsThe 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$84,360.00
WarrenLucy Stone Park Educational InterpretationThe project is for the design and construction of educational signage at Lucy Stone Park$11,542.00
WestboroughTown of Westborough Splash PadThe project will build a community Splash Pad$100,000.00

LAND Grant Program Awardees:

BoxboroughSargent 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.$400,000
DennisTobey 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. $312,780
Fall RiverAdirondack 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.$267,842
GrotonCasella 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.$360,900
HarwichSix 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.$400,000
MonsonJean 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.$265,271
NorthamptonSaw 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.$400,000
PittsfieldSaw 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.$280,000
WestboroughRuggels 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. $92,950
WilbrahamMcDonald Nature Preserve ExpansionThis 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.   $251,460

Conservation Partnership Grant Program Awardees:

Barnstable Land Trust, IncBowles Field Historic Landscape ProjectThe 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”$175,000.00
East Quabbin Land Trust, Inc.Dumas Woodland AcquisitionThe 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$24,500.00
Eastham Conservation Foundation100 Cole Road Conservation ProjectThe 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$175,000.00
Harwich Conservation TrustWhite Pond Preservation ProjectThe 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$175,000.00
Kestrel Land TrustHeronemus Forest Conservation AreaThe project will protect a forested parcel with a rolling terrain, exposed rock ledges, and an extensive trail network$81,000.00
Mattapoisett Land Trust, Inc.Lopriore & Defelice Parcel ConservationThe project will protect forested wetlands and uplands containing oak and swamp maple trees, occasional white pines, and understory typical of southeastern Massachusetts coastal forest$57,500.00

“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.”

“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.”