‘Plastics Park’ renamed after Congressman Neal
By G. Michael Dobbsnews@thereminder.com
INDIAN ORCHARD – A donation of 18 acres adds to the city’s inventory of parkland and continues a tradition in Indian Orchard.
Eastman Chemical Company, the new owners of the former Solutia plant in Indian Orchard, donated what has been known as “Plastics Park” on Page Boulevard to the city officially on Sept. 23. The park has been renamed “The Congressman Richard E. Neal Orchard Community Park.”
Neal, who said he had played baseball on the park’s field as a youth, said, “This is a nice honor for me personally and professionally.”
Noting people such as Everett Barney, Orrick Green Leaf and Nathan Bill who all donated property for parks, Neal added, “Springfield has had great benefactors. Every neighborhood has a public park.”
Solutia and Monsanto – its previous corporate incarnation – had operated a park and events facility at the site for more than 50 years, several of the speakers noted.
Patrick Sullivan, executive director of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management, said that parks add “real quality of life for our residents.”
State Sen. Gale Candaras said, “Nothing is more precious than open space,” and added that she worked on the special legislation that made the donation possible.
David Golden, senior vice president and chief legal officer for Eastman, said the city has been considering how it could add the park to its facilities for the past 20 years. His company bought Solutia in 2012 and began work on how to give the park to the city.
“Dedicating this park to Congressman Neal and his legacy of providing green space honors the families in this and surrounding communities that will enjoy the park for years to come,” Golden said.
According to information supplied by the company, Eastman employs more than 400 people at its Indian Orchard plant, which is its largest facility in New England. The company, based in Kingsport, Tenn., has about 14,000 employees worldwide.