The City of Springfield today accepted a donation on behalf of the Department of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management from the USA Bicentennial Committee of Springfield, MA.
The USA Bicentennial Committee is comprised of Treasurer Daniel M. Walsh, III, Realtor Paul Sears and Attorney James Tourtelotte. Since its inception in 1977, the Bicentennial Committee has been dedicated to preserving and ensuring public use of Springfield’s open spaces. The Committee has previously partnered with the Department of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management in renovations and improvements to Pynchon Park, Riverfront Park and several others. Today they continue this collaboration with a donation of $186,975 to support park matters.
Treasurer Daniel M. Walsh, III, states “it is only fitting that as we celebrate the 375th Anniversary of the City of Springfield, the Bicentennial Committee again makes a donation that will improve our City’s parks for years to come. We are eager to continue this positive relationship with the Park Department.”
Mayor Domenic J. Sarno Stated “The generosity of the Bicentennial Committee is gratefully acknowledged by the City of Springfield. Our residents appreciate the beauty of our open space and this gift today will assist our Parks Department in continuing the implementation of providing quality recreational resources. It is the carful oversight by these three gentlemen that these funds are available and I thank you for your dedication to ensuring Springfield remains close to all of our hearts.”
According to D.P.B.R.M Executive Director Patrick Sullivan, the donated funds will support four worthwhile projects within the department: “We are honored the Bicentennial committee has chosen the Park Department to be the recipient of these funds. This will assist the department in getting projects that have been on hold for three years started, and in the case of Camp Starr, will allow us to break ground in the spring. We look forward to utilizing these funds to initiate additional donations from the private sector. We appreciate the stewardship over these funds by the Bicentennial Committee and will ensure it is documented that this gift was part of the 375th anniversary of our great city.”
The donated funds will be immediately and simultaneously dispersed between four worthwhile projects: a 90’ flagpole at Riverfront Park, an accessible walking trail at Camp STAR Angelina, renovations to the Porter Lake Skate House and restoration of the Monkey House in Forest Park.
The Flagpole at Riverfront Park will be a welcome addition to the city’s skyline as it is easily visible from the Connecticut River and Interstate 91. The placement of the flagpole correlates with the entrance to Riverfront Park from State Street and marks the start of the State Street Corridor.
As part of the continuing efforts to implement the Camp STAR Angelina Universal Master Plan: Rebuilding Our Future, the donated funds will support the creation of a universally accessible boardwalk trail to Porter Lake. The trail includes gentle slopes, resting intervals and overlooks along the woodland trail located on the grounds of Camp STAR Angelina. The Accessible Trail will be named in honor of the Bicentennial Committee.
Also in Forest Park, the Bicentennial Committee’s donation will support overall improvements and rehabilitation of the Porter Lake Skate House, which will enhance the Environmental Center for Our Schools (ECOS) program.
The fourth and final project supported by the Committee’s donation will be the renovation of the “Monkey House” in Forest Park. At one time in the park’s history, the Monkey House was an integral part of the park experience as it housed many exotic animals. The goal of the Monkey House Restoration Project is to return the building to public use by reusing the space as a Park History Museum. With the donation from the Bicentennial Committee we are able to take the first step in this renovation project by updating and replacing the windows in the Monkey House.