Sunderland, Buckland awarded state park grants

Recorder Staff
Friday, January 05, 2018

Sunderland now has the resources to build a riverfront park along the Connecticut River, and Buckland will build its first playground, thanks to state Municipal Park and Recreation grants that were announced Friday by the Baker-Polito administration.

Sunderland received a $201,064 grant for a Riverfront Park, which will include a half-mile pedestrian trail along the Connecticut River. The walkway connects the Veterans Memorial, town offices, library, boat launch, scenic riverbank and playing fields. The riverfront project, designed by the Berkshire Design Group, will include a pathway to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers, and will lead to an overlook platform offering views of Mount Sugarloaf and the Route 116 bridge.

In October, special town meeting voters approved the borrowing of $295,683, contingent upon the town’s receiving the state Parklands Acquisition and Renovations for Communities Program (PARC) grant. The remaining cost is to come through the town’s Community Preservation Act fund.

Buckland money

In Buckland, a $32,000 PARC grant will help to pay for a $50,000 playground in the Buckland Recreation Area. Currently, the Recreation Commission is reconfiguring some elements of the Recreation Area, now that the town has a $500,000 anonymous donation towards a new, municipal swimming pool.

In addition to the pool donation, the Recreation Committee has raised $18,000 in private donations as a local match for building the playground.

On Jan. 22, the Recreation Committee will give a presentation of design plans for the Recreation Area and hopes to get public feedback on their ideas. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the Town Hall.

“We really do want people to know we’re pretty excited about the continuing updating of the area,” said Buckland’s Town Administrator Andrea Llamas. “We think this (playground) will be a great improvement for camp this summer.

The Baker-Polito administration announced about $6.3 million worth of Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) for 22 cities and towns throughout the state. “Increasing access to parks across the Commonwealth helps our communities grow and promotes healthier lifestyles,” said Gov. Charlie Baker.