State Grant to Help Pay for Quigley Park Upgrades

A state grant could pay for up to $400,000 of the cost of the renovation of Quigley Park on Essex Street.

Monday night, the City Council approved an appropriation setting aside the full cost of the project, estimated at $750,000, in anticipation of the reimbursement through the Parklands Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) grant.

According to City Manager Thomas Ambrosino, the City Council has appropriated $350,000 through the Fiscal Year 2022 Capital Improvement Program, leaving a balance of $400,000 for the project which is expected to be reimbursed by the state.

“For this grant, the proposed renovations of Quigley Park include replacement of the playground’s rubber surfacing, introduction of new playground equipment, installation of a new water feature and splash pad, refurbishment of the play fields, installation of new site furniture and lighting and reconstruction of all site utilities,” stated Ambrosino. “Once completed, the modernized playground will better serve our city’s youth, mitigate heat and poor air quality and increase quality of life for residents, a goal highlighted in the city’s 2017-2024 Open Space and Recreation Plan.”

The city expects to complete its design of the park improvements by the end of June next year. The design process will include coordination with park users, neighborhood residents, and other stakeholders, Ambrosino said.

“Already, an initial public meeting has been convened, as a part of the PARC grant application process,” stated the city manager. “We anticipate holding two additional public meetings to gather resident input on design features and park amenities during the winter and spring of 2022.”

The city is aiming to have construction of the park completed by June 30, 2023.

PARC grants pay 70 percent of the costs of park improvements, up to a maximum state share of $400,000. The PARC grant is a reimbursement grant, meaning the city is required to appropriate the full project cost and then request reimbursement from the state.

“In the event that this park ultimately costs more than the estimate, which is not uncommon, I may return to the Council for a further appropriation,” stated Ambrosino. “Conversely, if there are any remaining funds from this project, I am requisition authority to utilize them on future PARC funded projects.”

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