North Adams wins grant for playground renovations


Photo Gallery | North Adams Playgrounds

NORTH ADAMS - The city has won a $200,000 state grant to renovate playgrounds at Kemp Park and Windsor Lake.

The funding, made through Gov. Deval Patrick's Common Backyards Grant Program, will allow for the full renovations of the two city parks, according to Mayor Richard Alcombright.

The city will contribute $30,000 from its Community Development Block Grant recapture account.

The City Council last week authorized $230,000 for the project, which will be reimbursed by the state.

The Common Backyards Grant Program, new this year, is aimed at revitalizing play space for children in cities throughout the commonwealth. Both North Adams and Pittsfield received the maximum possible award of $200,000.

Following the council's green light, the city will look to send out a request for proposal for design services in the coming weeks.

North Adams City Planner Mackenzie Greer, who helped apply for the grant, said the Office of Community Development focused on Kemp Park and Windsor Lake because they receive heavy traffic. And Kemp Park is beginning to deteriorate.

'That facility has been noted as failing,' Greer said. 'A lot of the wooden playgrounds just have not held up.'

The existing playground will be razed, while the new playground could be relocated closer to the rest of the park. Its current location is ideal for its proximity to Sullivan School, but with Colegrove Park Elementary School set to take its place in 2015, the new playground might be better suited elsewhere, according to Greer.

The installation of a playground at Windsor Lake, Greer said, will not replace the current playground in the adjacent Historic Valley Campground. Instead, it will provide a playground option closer to the beach area for families.

"Windsor Lake has been noted over and over again as a facility that is just really important to our community," Greer said.

The mayor has expressed interest in making each playground unique, and providing a different experience at Kemp Park, Windsor Lake, and the new playground at Colgrove Park Elementary for children of the city.

Alcombright also noted that the playground renovation falls in line with the city's new master plan, Vision 2030, which puts an emphasis on community recreation and wellness.

"A big thrust of 2030 is to create a recreation system that is available ... to all residents," Greer said.

The playgrounds at Windsor Lake and Kemp Park will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, which not all city playgrounds are currently, according to Alcombright.


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