Rep. Richard Neal, Mayor Domenic Sarno announce Ruth Elizabeth Park funding
SPRINGFIELD — Ruth Elizabeth Park, between Hancock and Walnut streets in the Six Corners / Old Hill neighborhoods, will get improvements including an ADA-accessible and universal access park entrance and interior walking path as well as an open space urban trail connecting it with six other urban parks, officials said Wednesday.
The connector trail will link to Harriet Tubman, Donna Blake, Barrows, Gerrish, Johnny Appleseed and Forest parks, according to a news release issued Wednesday by the city.
The release detailed funding for the project announced by U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield, and Mayor Domenic Sarno: a $200,000 grant from the Land and Water Conservation Fund of the National Park Service and $250,000 from a Community Development Block Grant.
Design will begin in February, and the project will be bid for a construction start of July 1, with an estimated completion date of June 1, 2020.
“This federal grant from the National Park Service is helping to fund a very significant recreational project in the City of Springfield,” Neal said in the release. “When completed, the renovations to Ruth Elizabeth Park will help improve a vibrant urban open space for the residents of the Maple High/Six Corners neighborhoods.
"The investment in the public park system is known as ‘green infrastructure’ and it greatly improves the quality of life for the citizens of our community. I congratulate Mayor Sarno and his team for their leadership on this important local project,” the congressman said.
Sarno said the park was damaged in the June 2011 tornado.
“The city is grateful to the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Community Development Block Grant for providing the funding for this project and the city is excited to begin renovations to Ruth Elizabeth Park," Sarno said. "The project will ensure we recognize the strong significance this area of the city has played and allow our residents of all ages to appreciate the importance of their neighborhood.”
According to the city’s website, Ruth Elizabeth park already offers public restrooms, a playground, a water fountain, a 60-foot baseball and softball diamond, a spray structure, a soccer field and a football field.