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$400K plants seeds for a Common facelift

Lynn, Ma. 2-1-18. Matthew Beaton, Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, speaking on Lynn Common after presenting Mayor McGee with a check for 400 thousand dollars for work on the common. (Owen O'Rourke)

LYNN — A $400,000 grant will help city officials continue their facelift of the Lynn Common.

Matthew Beaton, secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), was on hand Thursday at the Lynn Common Bandstand to announce the award, which is through the Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) grant program.

Lynn is one of 22 communities that have been awarded more than $6 million in PARC grants this year from the Baker-Polito administration. The grant funding will go toward restoring the curb, walkways and perimeter handicapped ramps in the east area of the Large Common, allowing for the installation of new metal benches, trash receptacles and planting of new trees, according to information from the Baker-Polito administration.

Beaton said projects that qualify for the PARC program are new acquisitions, revitalizations, such as the Lynn Common, and improvements to public open spaces, which are meant to give residents of the Commonwealth an opportunity to get outside and enjoy clean air, water and soil. The main goal of the EEA, he said, is to give everybody the opportunity be outside and recreate.

“It’s a really great program because it’s incredibly flexible,” Beaton said. “It allows us to do projects like here in Lynn, where we’re going to see a lot of infrastructure and a lot of improvement, whether it’s curbs, the walkways, new benches and general improvements to the whole area to revitalize the Lynn Common.”

James Marsh, the city’s community development director, said the Lynn Common revitalization project kicked off with money to the city’s Master Plan for entire Common, which was completed about five to six years ago.

He said the city has been very fortunate to receive funds through the PARC grant program and Gateway City Parks Program — the entire project has cost about $2.5 million, which the city has matched with some community development block grant money.

Marsh said a $400,000 PARC grant was awarded for work on the small Common, $850,000 went toward work on the west end and now $400,000 will cap it off for work on the middle portion of the Common. In addition, Marsh said there has been a $900,000 restoration of the Lynn Common Bandstand.

“We are pretty close to total rehabilitation of the Lynn Common, starting with our Master Plan, to probably next summer (when) we’ll end with the middle portion.”

Marsh said the project has included landscaping, installing new park benches and antique-style lighting and the walkways have totally been redone. He said mile markers have been put in the walkway so people can track how much they walk around for good health. He said the last component would be renovating the antique fountain, which is broken.

Mayor Thomas M. McGee said he wanted to thank the Baker-Polito administration for helping to upgrade the Lynn Common, which he called an extraordinary piece of the community. He also commended the Lynn delegation, the Lynn City Council and Marsh for their work on the revitalization effort.

“It’s such a key piece of the area that stretches through the heart of the community,” McGee said. “It wouldn’t happen without the partnership and collaboration of the administration working with us on our vision.”

State Rep. Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn) said the Common is an area of the city that is used for recreation, for exercise, but is also a point of history and pride in Lynn. He said he wanted to thank the secretary and administration, but also echoed the mayor in applauding the local commitment.

“I’m just grateful to have so many people here at the state and local level and the secretary who’s been here numerous times,” said state Rep. Daniel Cahill (D-Lynn). “We’ve been fortunate to have such an attention from the Baker Administration. We’re very appreciative. We’ll keep on funneling money to you if you keep spending it in the city of Lynn so thank you very much.”

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