Building on efforts to enhance and protect natural resources, the Baker-Polito Administration awarded $10,090,749 in grant funding for park improvements, open space acquisitions, and land conservation projects in 37 Massachusetts communities and six conservation districts, including Harmon, Gibson and Costa Parks in Revere. The grants, funded by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs’ (EEA) capital budget and administered through several programs, including the Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC), Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (LAND), Conservation Partnership, and Conservation District Innovation Grant Programs, will help municipalities and land trusts in their efforts to protect land for future generations for outdoor recreation purposes. Revere will receive $320,237 for accessibility and inclusion park renovations at Harmon, Gibson and Costa Parks. The announcement was made by Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito at the City of Lowell’s South Common as part of the Administration’s celebration of Climate Week in Massachusetts.
“Massachusetts has great open spaces and natural resources that not only provide recreation and access to the great outdoors, but make the Commonwealth more resilient to the impacts of climate change,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Our Administration has made land conservation and local park improvements a key priority since coming into office in 2015, and our proposal to direct $100 million of federal relief funding into parks and open spaces will allow us to invest even more resources into these important projects, especially in Gateway Cities and underserved communities that need better access to green spaces.”
“Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, access to the state’s green spaces and parks has never been more important to residents in every community across the Commonwealth,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “The PARC, LAND and Conservation Partnership programs all play a critical role in ensuring the public has many opportunities to explore and enjoy natural recourses that are available close to home, and we’re proud to work with partners in municipalities across the Commonwealth to support these park improvement projects.”
The Administration awarded $8 million through the PARC Grant Program to support 24 projects that will support the development of parks and outdoor recreational assets. The program was established in 1977 to assist cities and towns in acquiring and developing land for parks and outdoor recreation purposes. Any community with an up-to-date Open Space and Recreation Plan is eligible to apply for the program. Since 2015, the Administration has awarded $47 million to 153 projects to acquire land for and build new parks, and renovate existing ones..
Additionally, the Administration awarded $1.2 million to four projects through the LAND Grant Program. The program was established in 1961 to assist municipal conservation commissions in acquiring land for natural resource protection and passive outdoor recreation purposes. Since 2015, the Administration has awarded more than $16 million to support 75 projects that have permanently protected more than 4,576 acres.
Through these programs, the Baker-Polito Administration is partnering with local communities and land trusts to protect critical open spaces and support the acquisition and restoration of local parks that provide important access to the outdoors, especially in our urban communities and Gateway Cities,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “The enthusiasm and joy residents across our Commonwealth have for these special places and the strong desire to get outside throughout the pandemic demonstrate the need for even greater investments in resilient lands, natural resources, and outdoor recreation through Governor Baker’s ARPA spending plan.”
The Administration also awarded $740,000 to support nine projects through the Conservation Partnership Grant program. The program provides funding to assist non-public, not-for-profit corporations in acquiring interests in lands suitable for conservation or recreation purpose.