The Department of Parks and Buildings will be applying for a $1 million grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which will be matched by the City of Springfield. The grant will allow the City to initiate the redevelopment of the softball fields, soccer field, playground equipment, site amenities, and woodland walks, which are necessary to meet the growing needs for high quality recreation areas citywide.
Mayor Sarno States, “I am pleased to submit this grant application for $1 million to the Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Grant program for the development of Springfield’s Greenleaf Park. This park is a jewel for our Sixteen Acres neighborhood that has been underutilized for years. I am elated that my administration, with the vision of Director Patrick Sullivan, will now move to enhance the quality of life for our Sixteen Acres residents. This too will be a fitting complement to our Clodo Conception/Greenleaf Community Center too.”
City Council President and Ward 5 Councilor Marcus Williams stated, “Residents and families will enjoy the proposed improvements to Greenleaf Park for years to come. On the campaign trail, I can recall Sixteen Acres residents sharing concerns regarding the modifications that were needed for Greenleaf Park. From increased walkability to the improvements for the parks’ courts and fields, the city is addressing longstanding concerns residents shared by joining forces. Thank you to Mayor Sarno, Pat Sullivan and the Department of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management, and the city for ensuring this open space remains an attraction for our community.”
Greenleaf Park, at 22 acres, is a regionally significant park in need of development to meet the growing recreational needs and improve climate resiliency within our city. The city will request the School Committee to transfer an adjacent 24-acre parcel from the School Department to the Park Department to be incorporated into the footprint and acreage of Greenleaf Park through this grant project.
“Springfield experiences heat island effects city-wide, and the city provides residents with water-based recreation when possible to mitigate heat island issues,” Mayor Sarno added. “Development of Greenleaf Park will include construction of a much-needed splash pad in this area of the city. Heat island effects and climate resiliency will be further addressed with green infrastructure design, tree plantings, pollinator gardens and environmental education awareness signage. Development of this community park will greatly enhance the recreational offerings of Greenleaf Park by providing much needed playground, splash pad, youth athletic facilities, tennis court improvements, walking trails, landscaping and more.”
Improvements to Greenleaf Park are estimated at $2 million. The City of Springfield is applying for the maximum LWCF reimbursement request of $1 million for renovations at Greenleaf Park with matching municipal funds of $1 million for successful completion of this project.
Springfield Public Schools Superintendent Daniel Warwick stated, “This federal grant from the National Park Service is helping to fund a very significant recreational project in the City of Springfield. When completed, the renovations to Greenleaf Park will help improve a vibrant urban open space that the residents of the Sixteen Acres will enjoy for years to come. I am excited for the opportunities that will be provided to the students at Walsh School under this master plan. The renovated park will open many new opportunities for the schools science program and physical education classes. I congratulate Mayor Sarno and his team for their leadership on this important local project.”
“We are very excited for this grant application to move forward. We have worked with the residents of the Sixteen Acres over the years in developing a master plan for this park. Their hard work and patience will be rewarded if we are successful in the application process. We are appreciative of the continuing collaboration of the School Department. The proposed improvements will enhance the education programs offered at Walsh School and offer the residents of Sixteen Acres a park that can be enjoyed in every season with the addition of the proposed splash pads and walking trail throughout the park. This park offers a positive setting for recreation for all ages and is a key component in ensuring the quality of life for the residents of the city,” said Executive Director of PBRM Patrick Sullivan.