Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Patrick J. Sullivan, Executive Director of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management, presented to the Board of Park Commissioners for the Master Plan at Forest Park. The presentation of the Master Plan took place on Thursday, April 4, 2019 at 3:30 p.m. in the Forest Park Conference Room.
During the past year the Mayor has expressed an interest to enhance upper Forest Park and to ensure the Horticulture area of the park be restored to its former splendor. A schematic design overview is now complete and the Mayor and Director Sullivan want to share the plans with the Park Commission and residents of the city. The Mayor will be looking to key residents and the business community to work with the Park Commission in developing a phased approach to implement the Master Plan. The plan can be implemented over a five-year period and it is the goal to develop cost estimates and potential grant resources over the next four months.
The Master Plan highlights include restoration of the former Monkey House and Brick Barn, a new Conservatory Greenhouse, and relocation of the Forestry and Recreation offices. The overall Master Plan ensures an improved tranquil setting for the Farmers’ Market at Cyr Arena parking lot by creating an improved entrance and pedestrian walks from Trafton Road. The plan also includes the final phase of the Camp STAR Angelina improvements with the rebuilding of a camp lodge, which replaces the former “A” Frame Lodge.
Mayor Sarno stated, “I appreciate Director Sullivan’s efforts in developing this Master Plan as the next chapter for Forest Park improvements. We have a very special responsibility to protect and preserve this unique space and I believe the Master Plan being presented today ensures the beauty of this park will be conserved for the next century. Having spent my summer vacations in Forest Park as a youth and often bringing my own family to this splendid oasis, I am constantly reminded of the importance this park has in providing a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle of daily city life. I am also pleased with this Master Plan as it upholds the tradition of the Olmsted Design of Forest Park.”
Patrick Sullivan said, “This plan offers the opportunity to reopen buildings to the public that have been closed off since the early 1970’s. We have a civic duty to restore these exceptional buildings and offer our residents additional open space opportunities. In developing key partnerships throughout the Pioneer Valley, we will start the process this summer of the restoration of the Horticulture and Learning Center and further development of this Master Plan. We look forward to sharing this plan with area residents over the next few months. We will work with the Springfield community and beyond in identifying available resources to implement this master plan.”
Sullivan further stated, “We are planning an event for October 4th & 5th of this year with the Springfield Garden Club as they will join with Springfield Parks in hosting the first official event in the former Monkey House — the Garden Club’s annual Flower Show. We are very excited for the many opportunities that will be made possible by implementing this Master Plan.”
Brian Santaniello added, “Forest Park holds so many memories for the residents of Springfield. When you consider this section of the park was developed in 1890, it is understandable that it is time to make a serious investment in this area to ensure it continues to be a special place for park patrons for years to come. I am proud to accept this plan as presented by Mayor Sarno and I am excited to work with everyone on it over the next few years.”