Springfield Park and Recreation Investments Celebrated
SPRINGFIELD — On Monday, state Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno celebrated Camp STAR Angelina, Mary Troy Park, and Balliet Park, all park projects reflecting the more than $7.7 million invested in parks and open space in Springfield by Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration.
“Open space and outdoor recreation investments are a critical component of building robust, healthy communities,” said Bartlett. “Gov. Patrick has made urban neighborhoods a top priority, and the evidence of that is clear today in Springfield and across the Commonwealth.”
Sarno thanked Patrick and Bartlett “for your continued vision in providing funding to increase and revitalize recreational and green spaces in urban areas. The legacy you are leaving here in Springfield is one of inclusion and opportunity, which is evidenced by the $3.5 million investment made here in Springfield, which demonstrates the Patrick administration’s commitment in creating strong and healthy communities.”
Located in Springfield’s Forest Park and operated by the city, Camp STAR Angelina offers inclusive recreational programs for youth and young adults with and without disabilities, medical concerns, and hearing and visual impairments.
EEA provided more than $1.325 million in capital funding to help fund the construction of a nearly complete, fully accessible pool and accessible bath house, as well as a universal outdoor amphitheater, construction of which will begin soon. As part of Monday’s celebration, Sarno announced that the pool and bath-house facility would be named after Gov. Patrick, in recognition of his efforts to increase access outdoor recreation for all children.
North Riverfront Park sits along the northern end of Springfield’s portion of the Connecticut River Walk and Bikeway, a proposed 20-mile corridor that would run through Agawam, Springfield, West Springfield, Chicopee, and Holyoke. EEA invested $1.2 million in North Riverfront Park to transform a property surrounded by barbed wire into a welcoming, vibrant site that will better connect Springfield’s North End to the riverfront. The city’s design features a reduction of pavement, installation of picnic tables, and an increase of pervious lawn areas, plant beds, rain gardens, and additional trees to provide shade. The city is contributing an additional $300,000 toward the project, and construction will be beginning shortly.
Mary Troy Park, a new park in the densely populated Liberty Heights neighborhood, will provide green space and access to outdoor recreation for residents. The park, set to be completed next spring, was made possible by a $400,000 Parkland Acquisition and Renovations for Communities (PARC) grant from the Patrick administration. The city will use this funding to design and build a new park, including a universally accessible series of free-standing play structures, including a water-spray feature and exercise equipment along a central pathway, as well as park amenities like drinking fountains and trash receptacles. The city of Springfield is contributing $380,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funding toward the project.
Balliet Park received a $400,000 PARC grant to renovate the baseball diamond and tennis courts, install a playground and swingset equipment, establish a picnic area, and improve access to park entrances and walkways. Springfield is using its Our Common Backyards Grant to construct a splash pad at the park, which will be completed by the year’s end.
Springfield is one of seven cities to receive funding through the governor’s Signature Urban Parks program. Through these projects, the Patrick administration seeks to revitalize urban communities by opening up or upgrading green spaces for outdoor recreation and improving access to natural resources such as waterways and historic neighborhood landmarks.