Posted Jan. 11, 2014 @ 12:04 am
Jan 11, 2014 at 12:08 AM
FALL RIVER — Christmas came to the Flint on Friday, and whether it was early or late doesn’t matter, said Carlos Cesar, president of the Flint Neighborhood Association.
The gift was that big.
The city will receive a $2.5 million state grant to restore the Father Travassos Park on Alden Street in the Flint, announced Rick Sullivan, the secretary of the Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
The new park will be about 4 acres. It will include soccer fields, basketball and tennis courts and a spray park. It will also be connected to the Westport bike path and the bike path that runs along the Quequechan River.
Complete details of the park plans will be on display at a meeting at 5 p.m. on Jan. 29 in Government Center, according to state officials.
The Flint Neighborhood Association maintained Travassos Park for the past several years, conducting annual cleanups, repairing equipment and grooming the fields.
The association worked with Mayor Will Flanagan and Ken Pacheco, the city’s maintenance director, searching for grants to fund a renovation at the park, Cesar said.
“Our project was going to cost $800,000,” he said. “What I have heard is that we are going to get a lot more. There are two plans to pick from right now. With the money proposed, I’m sure we will be happy with either one.”
State Sen. Michael Rodrigues and state Reps. Carole Fiola and Alan Silvia also worked to secure the grant for the city, according to a press release from Sullivan.
The grant comes from the Urban Parks Initiative pushed by the administration of Gov. Deval Patrick. With this grant, Fall River will have received $6.7 million from that program, state officials said.
Right now, the plans call for a site design to be finished in the next few months and for work to begin as soon as the weather improves, Cesar said. “The call I got today was that the park will be done this year,” he said.
That will be good news for the Flint, he added.
“A lot of people use that park,” he said. Other plans for residential development around the park will increase its use, he said.
“I’m more than happy with whatever they do,” Cesar said. “This is more than double what we were expecting.
“Slowly, slowly, we are changing the Flint. The more we bring people into the park, into our streets, the safer this neighborhood will be.”