Funding for the renovations, a total of $1,259,786, consisted of a grant from the National Parks Service Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) for $550,000; a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) of $305,000; and $404,786 from the City of Springfield. The LWCF grant is funded by the National Park Service and is administered at the state level by the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
This funding allowed the City of Springfield to redevelop Walsh Park with state-of-the-art inclusive playground amenities and swings, a splash pad, accessible walking path, picnic tables, field improvements (open space and softball diamond), tree plantings, and landscaping. The park is a now the focal point for the neighborhood, providing motivating recreational opportunities year round. The project was supported enthusiastically by the Hungry Hill Neighborhood Council.
Mayor Sarno stated, “I want to thank Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Politio, Secretary Kathleen Theoharides and Congressman Richard Neal for their unyielding support of our Springfield and our beautiful parks and open spaces. PBRM Director Patrick Sullivan, aka the Wizard of Oz, does such a tremendous job with our Parks systems. The city is grateful to the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Community Development Block Grant program for providing the funding for this project and we are excited to open Walsh Park. The project illustrates the importance of having a master plan ready so when grants come available, we are set to participate in the application process. The improvements will be a welcome addition to the Hungry Hill neighborhood. I’m especially pleased that Walsh Park now has a splash pad and walking path around the perimeter. These two elements add to the opportunities for intergenerational recreational activities for both young and old. This renovation is a great tribute to the neighborhood council and residents as they have patiently waited for this opportunity to improve their neighborhood park.”
“I am thrilled to celebrate the official opening of Walsh Park here in Hungry Hill,” said Congressman Richard E. Neal. “With assistance from a federal grant from the National Park Service, the Springfield Parks Department has restored another green space in the city for all to enjoy for years to come. Congratulations to Mayor Sarno and his team for another job well done that ensures high quality of life for residents.”
Park Commission Chairperson Terry Rodriguez added, “This is a great event for the patrons of Walsh Park. The amazing playground and splash pad, tranquil picnic areas, and new ballfield will be enjoyed immensely by the neighborhood. When local, state, and federal officials work together with the business community, we can make great things happen for our city. I would like to extend a special thank you to our Mayor and Congressman who continue to secure funds to improve our excellent park system.”
PBRM Director Patrick Sullivan stated, “We are very excited to have completed this project. We have worked with the Hungry Hill Neighborhood Council for over five years in developing a master plan for Walsh Park. We appreciate the Community Development Block Grant funds, administered by Cathy Buono, and the EEA/LWCF grant program for selecting this project to be fully funded. The city appreciates Congressman Neal’s efforts in restoring funding to the Federal Land and Water Conservation grant program. For too many years there were no funds appropriated to this vital park grant program. He fought tirelessly to reinstate this funding source as these grants are imperative to sustaining urban park systems. The grant award is a tribute to everyone’s hard work in developing a comprehensive plan for this urban park. This beautiful park offers invigorating recreational opportunities for all ages and is a key component in ensuring the quality of life for this neighborhood.”
The project was administered by the Department of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management, designed by Berkshire Design Group, and constructed by Omasta Landscaping.