PITTSFIELD -- The city has received $200,000 in state grant funds to upgrade playground equipment at two parks -- Ray Crow on Winter Street and Dorothy Amos on West Street.

City Parks and Open Space Manager James McGrath informed the City Council this week that the funding awarded through the state Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs will be split evenly between the parks. The funds, along with matching funds from the federal Community Development Block Grant money to Pittsfield, will replace aging playground equipment and enhance surrounding surfaces.

McGrath said some of the equipment is beyond its useful age and rusting. The projects will address handicapped access issues as well, he said, and install equipment meeting current safety standards.

He said the plan was to install the equipment -- which would take five to seven days -- in the fall, but he agreed to the suggestion of councilors Kevin Morandi and Kathleen Amuso to consider pushing the project ahead to early July.

The administration of Gov. Deval Patrick has designated funding for a number of urban parks throughout the state. Under the Our Common Backyards grant program, "environmental justice" areas of cities were targeted, referring to sections with significant low-income and minority populations who lack environmental amenities.

Councilor Anthony Simonelli asked about similar equipment for Highland Park, but McGrath said that site was not within an environmental justice area.


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