For Immediate Release: 4/26/2013 11:16 am
Worcester, MA (April 26, 2013) - With shovels in hand and construction equipment at their backs, Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray, Mayor Joseph M. Petty, City Manager Michael V. O'Brien, members of the Worcester City Council and the local State House delegation officially broke ground on a multi-million dollar Elm Park renovation project.
"As a community, it is critical that we come together to preserve and improve one of the city's and nation's historic sites – Elm Park," said Lieutenant Governor Murray. "Our Administration has partnered with the City of Worcester to embark on major investments at Elm Park that will revitalize the facility and enhance the quality of life throughout the city."
"I am proud to celebrate the rebirth of a true Worcester treasure, Elm Park. In my inaugural address, I promised to lead a task force to address renovations to Elm Park and to ensure it is sustained for the future," said Mayor Petty. "Today is a milestone in a community wide effort with both state and local partnerships to rehabilitate the park. I want to thank my Taskforce for being a part of this effort and for its continued hard work today and into the future. I am positive that partnerships between the state and local government joined with our community and business groups will guarantee Elm Park will once again be a shining source of pride."
The renovation includes playground equipment repairs, two new accessible swings, rubber safety surfacing, sixty new light poles along pedestrian walkways, new benches and picnic tables and new universally accessible pathways. Repairs will also be made to the pond edge walls and upgrades to the park's electrical utilities. To date, nearly 2 million dollars has been allocated for the Elm Park renovation project. The funding includes one million dollars from the City and $900 thousand dollars from State.
"This project will not only contribute to the economic well-being of Worcester, it will help residents discover what nature has to offer in their own backyards," said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Rick Sullivan. "This project is a great example of the strategic investments the Patrick-Murray Administration believes we need to make to help our communities grow."
Established in 1854, Elm Park is one of the oldest public parks in the United States and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The park has not seen any major renovations or restorations since the 1980s.
In addition to the groundbreaking, the event also celebrated Arbor Day. Local dignitaries and members of the Worcester Tree Initiative planted a tree in Elm Park. This continues the City's reforestation of beetle-resistant trees in public parks.
"Arbor Day, on April 26th, is perfectly timed with the spring foliage that emerges each year in Worcester," Said Peggy Middaugh, Executive Director of the Worcester Tree Initiative. "I want to thank the state and local partners that each year work collaboratively to ensure continued tree planting throughout our city is a success."