SPRINGFIELD – A candidate for City Council has questioned the status of a city park, but the spokesman for Mayor Domenic Sarno said the park is being used for its appropriate reason.
Jesse Lederman, who is running for at large council seat, recently sent out a press release about Richard E. Neal Indian Orchard Community Park, perhaps best known as the former “Plastics Park.” In 2013, Eastman Chemical Company donated the park property to the city after restoration.
Lederman has questioned why the park is apparently underused and in disrepair.
James Leydon, communications director for Sarno, told Reminder Publications in response to Lederman’s statements the park is only available for rental for functions.
He said that keeping the park open full time would not be “economically feasible.”
The park’s amenities include a baseball diamond and a large pavilion. Leydon said that anyone interested in renting the park for an event should contact the Parks Department.
Leydon also maintained the park is cleaned and the grass cut every two weeks.
He added the “purpose of the park may not have effectively communicated.”
Lederman agreed with the latter statement.
In his release, Lederman said, “Residents of Indian Orchard are concerned that this space is not being maintained or open for public use, some are questioning if it was ever open for public use at all. I visited the park myself and found the baseball diamond and grounds overgrown, and a rusted chain locking the gates to the park closed.”
Speaking to Reminder Publications, Lederman questioned whether or not the park is being adequately maintained. He said the adjacent area to the entrance of the park is overgrown, causing the entrance of the park to be obscured to passing motorists and creating a traffic hazard.
He also asserted that flowers are growing on the baseball field.
The Eastman Chemical Company spent $80,000 in restoring the property before it presented it to the city and Lederman said this is an example of a private gift to the city for which it has a responsibility to maintain.