Governor Charlie Baker Announces Major Funding to Repair Main Greeting Road in Forest Park

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Patrick J. Sullivan, Executive Director of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management welcomed Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Matthew A.  Beaton, Secretary of  Energy and Environmental Affairs,  to announce the awarding of $3 million in funding to replace the Swan Pond culvert at Main Greeting Road in Springfield’s Forest Park.  The funds were earmarked in a previous bond bill.

“The Commonwealth’s environmental infrastructure is a priority for our administration and the project in Springfield’s Forest Park is an excellent opportunity to ensure the protection of this important environment,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Constructed over a century ago, the culvert in Forest Park is critical to numerous ecosystems, and our administration is proud to partner with the City of Springfield to provide the funding necessary to find a permanent solution for a beautiful Western Massachusetts asset.”

“The City of Springfield has been an excellent partner in our shared goal of protecting the environment through safe and reliable infrastructure,” said Lieutenant Governor Polito. “I commend Mayor Sarno and the City for prioritizing this project in order to provide residents with the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Forest Park for years to come.”

“Culverts play a crucial role in the survival of ecosystems, and the repairs to take place in Forest Park will protect Swan Pond and the surrounding habitat,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “Forest Park is a tremendous natural resource within Springfield, and I look forward to continuing our work with the City of Springfield to provide outdoor opportunities for residents while protecting critical environmental resources.”

Mayor Sarno stated, “I am grateful to Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito for their swift action in allocating the funds necessary to restore the main entrance to Forest Park – Western Massachusetts’ crown jewel.  The Governor and Lt. Governor identified this repair project as a top priority with the EEA when I made the initial call to them in August.   They reassured me they would find funding to repair the dam and culvert.   Today, I am very pleased to announce they are providing the resources to ensure the restoration of Forest Park’s Main Greeting Road so that the thousands of annual visitors to Forest Park will have a scenic and accessible entrance to the park.”

Patrick Sullivan said, “We are very appreciative of the Governor and Lt. Governor’s continued commitment to our park system.  They, along with Secretary Beaton and his team, are always willing to assist Springfield and they have come through once again to address this critical component of Forest Park’s infrastructure.  During the past eight weeks, emergency work was completed to prevent further damage to the ecosystems downstream and minimize disruption to the many daily patrons of this regional park.  The geotechnical information gained over the past month has allowed the city to work with the EEA Office to ensure a cost effective reconstruction in a timely manner.”

Mayor Sarno further stated, “The city is ready to execute an agreement with the Commonwealth to ensure that the design and bidding of this project can commence.  Due to the age of the conduit and its severe deficiencies, the release of these funds allows the city to take immediate action to initiate design and bid the project over the winter   I take great pride in the partnership and work that has been accomplished in our city under the leadership of Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito.”

The following conditions have been implemented to allow Forest Park’s main entrance road to reopen while the city completes the final design and bidding process for this project.


  • Maintain the water level in Swan Pond at the target elevation of two feet below the normal spillway elevation (i.e., elevation 135.8 feet above sea level);
  • Monitor and record the water level in Swan Pond on a daily basis, including recording of rainfall amounts each day;
  • Maintain the ability to continuously pump Swan Pond at a rate not less than 2,000 gallons per minute in the case of prolonged precipitation;
  • Monitor the downstream slope condition by a qualified engineer familiar with the site conditions and recent soil boring data, on a frequency not less than once per week, and following rainfall events where the water level in the pond has been observed to rise 6 inches or greater above the pump-maintained target elevation, or when embankment soils have the potential to become saturated due to extended precipitation events; and
  • Have an Emergency Action Plan in place to be prepared to immediately re-close the Main Greeting Road and close off pedestrian access to and evacuate Meadowbrook Ravine area immediately downstream of the embankment, should any conditions warrant such action.


Six test borings were advanced to depths of 35 to 50 feet below the ground surface to investigate the integrity of the embankment supporting the road.  No evidence of significant voids or other geotechnical instability was observed.  The information gained will be used in the evaluation and design of permanent remedial actions.  If the level of Swan Pond rises to a depth significantly greater than the normal spillway elevation, the excess water will be removed by pumping or other means. All of the temporary piping installed for the recent dewatering has been left in place ensuring future drawdowns can occur on an as-needed basis and without re-closing the road.  The city will initiate design and bid this winter for a spring replacement.

New England Boring Contractors performed the soil borings, with engineering oversight provided by GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc.

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Page last updated:  Tuesday, March 20, 2018 12:13 am