Event: Ribbon Cutting for Balliet Park Splash Pad
Date: Wednesday, June 24, 2015 at 2:15 p.m.
Place: Balliet Park, 111 Seymour Street, Springfield, MA 01109
Contact: Patrick J. Sullivan, Executive Director, PBRM
Jim Leydon, Communications Director
Mayor Domenic Sarno, City Councilor Clodo Concepcion, School Superintendent Daniel Warwick, Park Commission Chairman Brian Santaniello, Executive Director of PBRM Patrick Sullivan, and President of the Pine Point Council Gloria DeFillipo, invite the public to a ribbon cutting at Balliet Park Splash Pad on Monday June 22, 2015 at 2:30 pm. The city has worked with the Pine Point Neighborhood Council and residents for over ten years on a master plan for this park. The land was formally School Department property, and the School Committee and Park Commission unanimously supported the transfer to the city as park property earlier this year. Balliet Park, which is located on Seymour Street in the Pine Point Neighborhood, will provide 6.47 acres of open space in a densely populated neighborhood. Formerly a school playground and playing field, the land has always been considered a neighborhood park for this area.
Phase One for Balliet Park is now complete, through the support of Our Common Backyard grant, included the installation of a splash pad. Additional funding through a PARC grant will allow the city to complete the necessary renovations to transform Balliet Park into a viable neighborhood park and resource which will offer a variety of recreational opportunities. Proposed site improvements include the renovation of the baseball diamond and open field, installation of a playground and swing set, establishment of a picnic area and improved access to park entrances and walkways.
Balliet Park will offer active and passive recreational opportunities for people of all ages and abilities. The master plan includes universally designed and accessible playground unit for ages 2-12 will be constructed and field restoration will be included in the renovations. Installation of benches and a picnic area situated under newly planted shade trees will provide park users a vantage point from where to watch the activity in the park. The open space area will be designed to include a youth baseball diamond and additional green space for soccer and other informal games, such as Frisbee, lawn bocce and touch football. The tennis courts and basketball court have been included in the bid package as bid alternates. The department is reviewing bid documents recently submitted to determine the final scope for phase two.
The current linear design of the park will be reconditioned to create a meandering walk through the park with pockets of play and recreation areas. The walkway will create an inviting space and encourage park users to enjoy all the amenities the park has to offer — to play, picnic and stay a while. Additionally, the path will provide an opportunity to highlight Leave No Trace principles for environmental ethics, and play areas will encourage environmental awareness with amenities that mimic natural elements.
Additional site amenities will improve the overall aesthetics and safety of Balliet Park. The park will be accessed from the bordering streets: Plum and Pear Streets, Seymour Avenue and Breckwood Boulevard, and visitors will be met with improved, formalized and ADA accessible walkways. These walkways will also function as an accessible means of travel between the neighborhoods. Other amenities will include a drinking fountain, bike rack, trash receptacles, improved lighting and fencing, and parking.
Mayor Sarno stated, “The city is grateful to Commonwealth of Mass Division of Energy and Conservation for providing the funding for this project and the city is excited to begin to use the splash pad for this summer. The neighborhood council needs to be congratulated for working collaboratively with the city. The project illustrates the importance of having a master plan ready so when grants come available we are ready to participate in the application process. The improvements will be a welcome addition to the Pine Point neighborhood.”
City Councilor Claudio Concepcion said, “I am thrilled for the Pine Point neighborhood. During the past four years I attended the planning meetings to ensure that the neighborhood receives the improvements it deserves. The new splash pad and proposed park improvements will create a valuable oasis for the neighborhood. The plan is well thought out and will be enjoyed by future generations as well.”
Daniel Warwick declared, “The School Department was pleased to have a role in this project. This land will provide quality recreational opportunities not only for the residents but also for the students attending Balliet Middle School. This is the third project the School Department has participated in transferring land for park purposes and all have had a positive impact on the community.”
Brian Santaniello stated, “The Park Commission is pleased to support the efforts of the Pine Point Council. The new splash pad will provide a welcome relief to the youth on hot summer days. The renovations of the former school grounds will transform this land into a vibrant resource for the Pine Point Community.”
Patrick Sullivan said, “The Department of Parks, Buildings, and Recreation Management has worked for over ten years on the master plan with the Pine Point community while waiting for the right grant to be offered. It is exciting to see the phase one of this master plan complete. Pine Point’s day has come and we are proud to continue to work with the residents in implementing their master plan to completion. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge Yollie Nahorniak, as she was instrumental in getting the master plan off the ground. Also, a special thanks to Gloria DeFillipo and the Pine Point Council for their tireless efforts of writing letters and supporting the city’s efforts in obtaining the grants.”