The following is a press release from the state's Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary (EEA) Rick Sullivan today awarded $400,000 to the city of Medford to help fund renovations to McNally Park. The grant is part of the Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) Program.
“This project is a great example of the strong commitment Governor Patrick has made to improving parks in our urban communities across the Commonwealth,” said Secretary Sullivan. “Investing in our parks creates growth and opportunity for generations to come. I want to thank community leaders, city officials and local-area legislators for partnering with us at EEA to make this happen.”
The project will include the construction of a new softball field, creation of a play area with two structures, a series of exercise/workout stations, a passive garden with lawn and shade structure and an accessible community garden.
Since taking office, Governor Deval Patrick has made a historic investment of more than $300 million in land conservation focused on three goals: investing in urban parks, preserving working farms and forests and protecting large natural landscapes for habitat. This investment has resulted in the permanent protection of more than 110,000 acres of land and the renovation or creation of more than 170 parks.
According to a report by The Trust for Public Land, outdoor recreation generates $10 billion in consumer spending, $739 million in state and local tax revenue and $3.5 billion in wages and salaries each year in Massachusetts.
I am pleased with the commitment Secretary Sullivan has made with regards to our park program within the City of Medford and the Commonwealth,” said Representative Paul Donato. “The Mayor and the City Council of Medford have aggressively worked towards the rehabilitation of all our parks, and McNally Park will be a shining example.”
“I am just thrilled that McNally Park will be renovated for the community to enjoy,” said Representative Sean Garballey. “Secretary Sullivan and his staff have been great partners in developing our neighborhood assets to leverage existing open spaces, and I look forward to continuing to work with them and the rest of the Medford delegation on improving our green spaces.”
The PARC Program (formerly the Urban Self-Help Program) was established in 1977 to assist cities and towns in acquiring and developing land for park and outdoor recreation purposes. Financed by Massachusetts’ environmental bond fund, the program was created to support land acquisition and the construction, or renovation of recreation facilities – such as spray parks, community gardens, and playgrounds.
Grant applications are assessed based on criteria such as project quality and demographics, with preference given to park projects located close to urban centers and public transportation or serving environmental justice populations. These populations are defined as neighborhoods where the median annual household income is at or below 65 percent of the statewide median income or 25 percent or more of the residents are a minority or lacking in English language proficiency.
The Patrick Administration will be awarding 25 PARC grants for a total investment of more than $8.3 million to help municipalities acquire parkland, renovate existing parks or build new parks and other outdoor recreation facilities.
The application process for PARC grants is open each spring to all 351 cities and towns across the Commonwealth that have an up-to-date Open Space and Recreation Plan.