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Town officials make another attempt to secure PARC grant

Date: 6/21/2011

June 20, 2011

By Chris Maza

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM — It's that time of year again.

In an effort to boost funding for the Spec Pond Recreation Complex Project, the Parks and Recreation Department will once again be applying for the Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) grant.

The town has twice applied for the grant unsuccessfully.

"We're hoping the third time's the charm," Parks and Recreation Director Bryan Litz said. "Through the urging of [State] Sen. Gale Candaras, we're giving it one more try."

In 2010, Wilbraham just narrowly missed the cut, putting together a proposal that was comparable to that of larger communities. Evaluation of applications is done on a points scale and Wilbraham scored a 47. Ten of the 21 communities that received grants scored between a 47 and a 52.

A public hearing has been scheduled for June 22, at which residents can hear additional details of the grant and its potential uses, and also can ask questions of Litz.

The PARC grant would offer approximately $500,000 in additional funding to the renovation project, which has already garnered nearly $1 million in support through a capital campaign and Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding.

Money received through the grant would be used for the revitalization of the beach area, including a renovation of the beachfront, the installation of a spray park and repairs and renovation of the pavilion.

The revitalization project for the recreational area got underway with a groundbreaking ceremony on Nov. 18, 2010 and some of the work has already been completed, including the newly constructed athletic fields, which started hosting baseball games this season.

"It really has been great," Litz said. "Between the capital campaign and the CPA funds, we were able to do $1 million worth of work and probably about 40 percent of that is done now."

Litz added that new phases of the project, including a new softball field, would be commencing shortly, thanks to CPA money.

Those who wish to support the town in its application for the PARC grant can contact Litz at 596-2816 for information on how to write a letter of support that can be included in the town's application packet.

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