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Mayor Sarno, State Representative Williams, School Committeewoman Gresham and PBRM Director Sullivan attend Groundbreaking Ceremony for Donna Blake Park

|   City News

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Patrick Sullivan, Executive Director of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management (PBRM), joined State Representative Bud Williams, School Committeewoman and Old Hill Neighborhood Council President Barbara Gresham, City Councilor Kateri Walsh and members of Donna Blake Family, son George ‘Spanky’ Blake and wife Della, for a special groundbreaking ceremony at Donna Blake Park. Park renovations are possible thanks to a successful grant application from the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs Division of Conservation Services Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) grant program. Additional funding from the City of Springfield Community Development Office through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and Disaster Recovery with use of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to finance the $1.145 million of improvements to Donna Blake Park in the Old Hill neighborhood.

Mayor Sarno states, “The redevelopment of Donna Blake Park will enhance our Old Hill neighborhood park.  I am proud of my administration’s efforts, led by PBRM Director Patrick Sullivan, of investing over $111 million into our beautiful neighborhood parks for our residents and their families to enjoy.  This comprehensive plan will provide our youth with a state-of-the-art passive and active recreational opportunities, including a splash pad, while also supporting my administrations climate action and resilience plan.” 

“I want to thank State Representative Bud Williams for his leadership at the state level to advocating for this grant.  Special shoutout to PBRM Director Patrick Sullivan, Deputy Director Peter Krupczak, Senior Parks Project Manager Laura Walsh and their dedicated team for their efforts in pursuing this grant opportunity for the proposed improvements at Donna Blake Park,” said Mayor Sarno.  “The added space and renovations planned will create a wonderful park experience for the residents of the Old Hill neighborhood.  This comprehensive plan will provide the youth of this neighborhood with state-of-the-art passive and active recreational opportunities, along with a splash pad as our summers grow increasingly warmer.”

Development of Donna Blake Park will include, an accessible and inclusive splash pad/spray park and playground amenities.  The playground will feature elements that are not only accessible but also inclusive in terms of sensory play to offer youth of all abilities a fun and welcoming play space.  The Park renovations will also improve the circulation of the park, ensuring access to all amenities for people of all abilities.  Additional Park improvements include a formalized park entrance with new fencing and signage, including Legacy Trail signage; a picnic pavilion and picnic tables, utility improvements, open space lawn restoration, tree plantings and landscaping.

The Department of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management completed design development with McMahon Associates, a Bowman Company, as the selected design firm.  A bid for public construction was recently completed with a construction contract awarded to Mountain View Landscapes and Lawncare.  

The project is scheduled to be completed by June 2024

Park Commission Chairwoman Jennifer McQuade said, “This is an exciting day for the residents of Old Hill Neighborhood.  The proposed improvements will allow both young and adult patrons to enjoy the new amenities at this urban park.  I look forward to next summer to see this project reach fruition.  On behalf of the Park Commission, I congratulate Mayor Sarno and Pat Sullivan and his team for their ongoing successful efforts in securing funding to enrich our superb parks.”

PBRM Director Patrick Sullivan added, “Once again Mayor Sarno has demonstrated his commitment to and love for our celebrated park system.  His allegiance to all of Springfield’s neighborhoods is evident by his constant enhancement of our parks.  The Old Hill Neighborhood Council played a vital role in the master plan for this park and this is the reward of their dedication to this project. The proposed Splash Pad, playground, site amenities and pavilion will allow the residents to enjoy this park on a hot summer day and not have to walk blocks away anymore to find a way to cool off.   We are grateful to the Old Hill Neighborhood Council and State Rep Bud Williams for their contribution to this master plan and for their support during the past year in applying for the PARC grant.  The proposed improvements will offer opportunities for all ages to participate in increased recreational activities at Donna Blake Park.”

Additional Information about this park: Donna Blake Park is one of six parks on Springfield Legacy Trail.  The Legacy Trail is a 2.3-mile trail that connects parks in the Six Corners and Old Hill neighborhoods while highlighting their history and cultural legacy within the City of Springfield. The Legacy Trail celebrates the heritage of Springfield residents who helped establish our public parks system, as well as those who are remembered for their impacts on the Springfield community.  Legacy Trail signs at each of the parks on the trail honors and describes the history of the park and/or community members associated with the park in regards to the legacy trait they exhibited, such as: Courage, Community, Philanthropy, Service, Sportsmanship and Stewardship.  The Legacy Trail includes Ruth Elizabeth Park, Harriet Tubman Park, Samuel Bolden Park, Donna Blake Park, Barrows Park and Gerrish Park, and is intended to be traveled in a loop from any location.  Donna Blake Park will offer city residents and trail users accessible recreation and park opportunities, including the splash pad, playground and picnic pavilion; as well as tree plantings and landscaping to improve the city’s climate resiliency.

Page last updated:  Tuesday, March 1, 2022 01:32 pm