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School Street Park on schedule, director anticipates spring opening

Date: 10/3/2014

AGAWAM – The second phase of the School Street Park construction is progressing nicely and will be ready for public use next spring.

Christopher Sparks, director of the Parks & Recreation Department, provided a progress report to Mayor Richard Cohen in a letter dated Sept. 9.
The letter reads, “We are approximately $50,000 under budget, so any changes that may occur can easily be absorbed without seeking additional funding. I am very pleased with the progress and the amount of work that is being completed.”
Reminder Publications spoke with Sparks and Cohen about the project on Oct. 1.
According to Sparks, 40 acres of the 50-acre parcel is being developed because the remaining area is wetlands.
The $2.2 million park is completely funded by grant money. The town was awarded a $400,000 Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities grant from the Commonwealth and $1.8 in Community Preservation Act funds from the town to complete the construction.
Cohen explained that the first phase was also completely funded through local and state grants as well as a private donation by Berkshire Power. That work cost just over $2 million.
“At this point, we’re under budget and on time,” Sparks said. The extra money allowed the installation of additional security lights in the park.
“A lot of things not mentioned in the letter have been completed,” Sparks commented. That work includes tree planting, grass seeding, the installation of a privacy barrier for abutters and the completion of the playground structure, which will be painted in the spring.
Sparks noted that the concrete pouring would be complete by the time the article is published and the paving would be complete by the end of October.
“It really is aesthetically appealing and functional. I’m very excited about it because it’s nothing but good,” Cohen said.
Sparks anticipated the park would open in the spring of 2015.
“If Mother Nature cooperates, (with the help of our irrigation system) our grass should germinate enough to open the park around June 1 next year, just in time for summer,” Sparks wrote.