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BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration today, November 5, announced more than $8.7 million in grant awards to municipalities and land trusts to support the acquisition and conservation of over 676 acres of land throughout the Commonwealth, including $80,000 for Framingham.

The grants, awarded through four separate grant programs, will fund 46 projects in 35 communities, creating or renovating 20 parks and supporting projects to help farmers and forest landowners improve the management of soils and natural resources.

 “Massachusetts’ open spaces are a significant asset to our state, providing recreational opportunities to residents across the Commonwealth while also helping to build resiliency to the impacts of climate change,” said Governor Charlie Baker.  “Our administration is proud to fund these important efforts that will create new parks, support the agricultural community, and conserve critical natural resources.”

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Among the $8.7 million in grants awarded was $80,000 to Framingham for the Chickatawbut Woods. The City of Framingham in conjunction with the Sudbury Valley Trustees plans to purchase the property.

Chickatawbut Woods is a 19-acre property located off Edmands Road in the northern part of Framingham.

The land is owned by Impact Framingham, a nonprofit organization formerly known as the Framingham Civic League.

It was given to the Civic League in 1963 and has been vacant since that time.

The Sudbury Valley Trustees and the City of Framingham are working to protect Chickatawbut Woods to ensure that the land remains in its natural state and continues to be accessible by the public. We have been in discussions to acquire and protect this property for more than a decade.

The project will provide link between city conservation land and over 500 acres of conserved land. The property secures a trail connection for several neighborhoods.

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 “The ongoing pandemic has made clearer than ever the significant benefits outdoor spaces offer Massachusetts residents, including for physical and mental health,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.  “These grants allow us to partner with municipalities and land trusts across the Commonwealth to support important local projects to conserve critical natural resources and improve recreational opportunities.” 

The grants were awarded through the Local Acquisitions for Natural Diversity (LAND), Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC), Conservation District Innovation, and Conservation Partnership grant programs, administered by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. 

The administration awarded $5,295,711 to 20 municipalities through the PARC Grant Program, established in 1977 to assist cities and towns in acquiring and developing land for park and outdoor recreation purposes.  Any community with an up-to-date Open Space and Recreation Plan is eligible to apply for the program.

Since 2015, under the Baker-Polito Administration, 188 PARC grants have been awarded, totaling $36,129,972 in grant funding to create or restore municipal parks.

The administration also awarded of $2,676,785 to 11 municipalities through the LAND Grant Program, which was established in 1961 to assist municipal conservation commissions in acquiring land for natural resource protection and passive outdoor recreation purposes.  Any municipal conservation commission with an approved Open Space and Recreation Plan is eligible to apply for the program. Since 2015, under the Baker-Polito Administration, the program has protected 3,857 acres with grants totaling $13,330,559.

“These programs enable municipalities and land trusts to protect land across the Commonwealth that provides critical habitat to rare species as well as climate resiliency,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides.  “Our communities and land trust partners are increasingly valuable allies in our effort to conserve critical natural resources across the Commonwealth, and we look forward to working with them to support these important projects.”

The Conservation Partnership Program awarded grants to eight municipalities totaling $495,170. The program provides funding to assist non-profit organizations in acquiring interests in lands suitable for conservation or recreation purposes.

Over the past ten years it has granted $6,128,487 to 97 projects conserving 3,033 acres. Through the Conservation District Innovative Projects program, the administration announced a total of $230,000 to support seven projects.

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PHOTO courtesy of Sudbury Valley Trustees

Portion of this report are a press release from the Governor’s office.

By editor

Susan Petroni is the former editor for SOURCE. She is the founder of the former news site, which as of May 1, 2023, is now a self-publishing community bulletin board. The website no longer has a journalist but a webmaster.