BOSTON (SHNS) – Gov. Charlie Baker announced more than $10 million in grant money Tuesday to aid local parks and conservation land in 37 municipalities and six conservation districts, spread across the map from the Provincetown Greenway to the Pittsfield-based Berkshire Conservation District.
Baker made the announcement on Lowell’s South Common, where he said a $400,000 grant would be put toward improving the central playing field, creating an accessible pathway, and repairing a walking track. City Manager Eileen Donoghue said the 1845 park was laid out by noted landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted. The former state senator said grant money would help tailor the historic space to the “current needs” of Lowellians, including a regulation playing surface on the central field.
“From the earliest days of the pandemic, we saw a significant increase in residents turning our parks into communities and opportunities to get out of their homes. To take fresh air,” Donoghue said. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said that “as the mother of two teenagers, I can underscore the importance of places like this.” “I see the uprights. I know there are soccer games that come here. These are places where people in the community can come together,” Polito said. “… I also like this program a lot because it not only targets urban park areas but (one) that carves out funds for communities under 35,000 people and spreads these dollars to communities small and large all across our commonwealth.”
Officials attended the ceremony from cities including Boston, Lawrence, and Lynn, and smaller towns like Buckland, Boylston, and Orleans. The grants announcement was held as part of the Baker administration’s observance of “Climate Week.”
Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Katie Theoharides was unable to attend. She was “on a very brief but very important trip to New York for us,” Fish and Game Commissioner Ron Amidon said.