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Town to celebrate School Street Park completion

Date: 5/29/2015

AGAWAM – Seven years after the first phase was completed, the School Street Park will celebrate its grand opening, marking the end of construction. The celebration is set to take place on July 1, before the first concert of the summer series.

The second phase of construction includes an expansion of park amenities, including a spray park, a smaller playground for younger children and a stage, Director of Parks and Recreation Chris Sparks said.

“It’s a very exciting to have this open,” Sparks said. “It’s going to offer a lot more opportunities for the community, including the spray park. That will be the biggest attraction for kids … It’s exciting to have this open for the public.”

Though construction is still in the works, Agawam’s Relay for Life was hosted at the park on May 15, and Sparks said it was a success, even if the addition was not fully completed.

“It was a huge success, even though construction wasn’t 100 percent done. What they needed was open space, and that was OK to use,” Sparks said. “We have already had a successful event while under construction. Once construction is complete, we are going to truly enjoy the benefits.”

The School Street Park expansion cost roughly $2.2 million, Sparks said. The cost was covered by $1.8 million of Community Preservation Act Funds and a $400,000 PARC Grant from the state.

Sparks said the new features are a “great addition to the already open park” and it will serve all types of park goers. There are pavilions and picnic tables for passive recreation, as well as athletic fields and playgrounds for active recreation, he said.

Because of a snow-heavy winter, the official opening date was later than Sparks said he was hoping for. He and his department did not set a date until the spring for that reason, saying they wanted to “allow the grass to grow and mature before we put heavy activities on it.”

In addition to the new physical elements of the School Street Park, the Agawam Cultural Council’s SummerFest concerts will now take place at the park. The new band shell and stage will be home to the series, with the grand opening coinciding with the first concert of the summer.

Good Acoustics will kickoff the summer’s festivities at 7 p.m. on July 1, just after the grand opening ceremonies. Davey the Clown will also be performing beginning at 5:30 p.m. and continuing through the show.