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East Boston, Somerville, Brookline among communities chosen for state grants for park improvements

Posted by Jeremy C. Fox  December 27, 2012 02:28 PM

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East Boston American Legion Playground.jpg

(Jeremy C. Fox for

East Boston’s American Legion Playground, photographed in August 2011, is one of seven sites around Greater Boston selected for a $400,000 Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities Program grant.

The state has announced a set of grants to support the creation and enhancement of parks and recreation areas in seven communities in Greater Boston.

The Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities Program grants — each worth $400,000 — will support improvements in East Boston, Chelsea, Lynn, Marblehead, Salem, Somerville, and Brookline, according to a statement released by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

The PARC Program, previously the Urban Self-Help Program, is financed by the state’s environmental bond fund. It was created in 1977 to help cities and towns acquire land and develop it for outdoor recreation.

“Investing in public parks will help provide additional recreational opportunities for residents throughout the Commonwealth,” Rick Sullivan, the state’s secretary of energy and environmental affairs, said in the Dec. 19 statement announcing the grants.

“I want to thank community leaders, municipal officials and local-area legislators for working with us on these projects that will contribute to the health and economic wellbeing of these communities,” Sullivan said.

At the American Legion Playground in East Boston, the money will support the renovation of basketball courts, a play lot, ball fields, and bleachers, as well as the construction of a new soccer field and a waterfront observation platform.

“I am very happy that the American Legion Playground will benefit from this grant,” Representative Carlo Basile said in the statement. “This is one of the most highly used parks in East Boston, and its refurbishment has long been overdue. I look forward to seeing it redone and creating an attractive, fun and safe place for all families to use and enjoy.”

In Chelsea, the grant will support the creation of four paved play areas, three play structures, connecting paths, benches, waste receptacles, retaining walls, lighting, and landscaping at the 141 Washington Ave. Park.

At Neptune Boulevard Park in Lynn, funds will help install a new play area, a basketball court, soccer nets and goalposts, a storage building, picnic tables, benches, new irrigation and landscaping, as well as new backstops, infields and perimeter fencing for existing baseball fields.

The Town of Marblehead will use the grant to buy the 4.9-acre former Chadwick Lead Mills “brownfield” site.

In Salem, the funds will be used to install synthetic turf at Bertram Field and renovate the track.

Somerville will use its $400,000 to install new entrances, play features, water activity features, a community/performance space, lights, and seating at the North Street Veterans Playground, as well as to replace some fencing and gates.

Brookline will add a new athletic field, play space, outdoor classroom, seating areas, viewing platform, and a promenade with benches, landscaping, and interpretive signage at the Fisher Hill Reservoir.

“It is crucial that we continue to support parks and green recreational spaces, so I am delighted that Fisher Hill Reservoir will be receiving this grant to aid its transformation into a multi-use park,” Representative Frank I. Smizik, who represents Brookline, said in the statement.

“It will offer residents and visitors another opportunity to enjoy the outdoors as well as a picturesque view of our town,” Smizik said.

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs will award a total of 25 PARC grants worth more than $8 million to cities and towns across the Commonwealth.

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Follow Jeremy C. Fox on Twitter: @jeremycfox.
Follow East Boston on Twitter: @YourEastBoston.

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