AMESBURY – Monday, January 7, 2013 – Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary (EEA) Rick Sullivan today announced that the town of Amesbury has been awarded a $400,000 grant to upgrade the Lower Millyard Heritage Park as part of the Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) Program.
“This grant will greatly enhance this green space and provide additional recreational opportunities for Amesbury residents,” said Secretary Sullivan. “Projects like these get people outside, contributing to the health and economic wellbeing of communities throughout the Commonwealth.”
This project will include the construction of a public access canoe and kayak launch, sitting areas and assembly plaza.
“Heritage Park will be the centerpiece of a redeveloped Lower Millyard. This grant will help the City raze the former DPW building and create a welcoming public space,” said Rep. Michael A. Costello. “Under the leadership of Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray, the state has time and time again invested money and resources into the Lower Millyard. This grant is another example of a plan of comprehensive investment in downtown Amesbury.”
“This PARC grant has created an exciting opportunity to realize the Lower Millyard Heritage Park project,” said Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives. “I appreciate Governor Patrick’s and Secretary Sullivan’s commitment to expanding and enhancing public parks in the Commonwealth. With improved waterfront access, the public can more easily enjoy the City of Amesbury’s unique history, nature, and recreational assets.”
“With the Patrick-Murray Administration’s investment in the Lower Millyard Heritage Park project through the PARC Grant, they are helping to provide a significant incentive for future economic growth in the Lower Millyard,” said Mayor Mayor Thatcher W. Kezer III. “We are excited about being one step closer to transforming this vital area, while creating a beautiful multi-use riverfront park for our residents and visitors to enjoy.”
Since 2007, the Patrick-Murray Administration has made a historic investment of more than $300 million in land conservation focused on three goals: investing in urban parks, preserving working farms and forests, and protecting large natural landscapes for habitat. This investment has resulted in the permanent protection of more than 100,000 acres of land and the renovation or creation of more than 150 parks.
The PARC Program (formerly the Urban Self-Help Program) was established in 1977 to assist cities and towns in acquiring and developing land for park and outdoor recreation purposes. Financed by Massachusetts’ environmental bond fund, the program was created to support land acquisition and the construction, or renovation of recreation facilities – such as spray parks, community gardens, and playgrounds.
EEA will be awarding a total of 25 PARC grants for a total investment of more than $8 million to help municipalities acquire parkland, renovate existing parks or build new parks and other outdoor recreation facilities.
The application process for PARC grants is open each spring to all 351 cities and towns across the Commonwealth that have an up-to-date Open Space and Recreation Plan.