Giving Leominster a New Place to Play

January 11, 2019
Heavy machinery has been rumbling over Mechanic Street Park in Leominster, leveling the ground as work continues to transform the land at the corner of Laurel and Mechanic streets into a place for community recreation. Saint Cecilia Church overlooks the park.

LEOMINSTER -- Funding has been secured for the next phase in the development of the Mechanic Street Park.

“We are absolutely thrilled,” Mayor Dean Mazzarella said after the grant was announced on Thursday.

The project was among 19 in the state to be awarded over $6 million for local park and recreation improvements. The city received $399,399 from the Baker-Polito administration for the second phase of the project, which is focused on creating more recreation space in the park.

Mazzarella said residents had already noticed that work on the first phase of the project was wrapping up, while crews are preparing for the next step.

“They’ve unloaded some of the heavy equipment and started leveling the area, and it already makes (the park) look better,” Mazzarella said. “For Mechanic Street to have come from where it was to where it is now -- it’s unthinkable.”

Mazzarella said the project would provide some much-needed improvements to the city.

“When you think that there was an entire neighborhood with 5,000 people who lived within a quarter-mile of each other with no recreational areas, no place to park, nowhere to throw a ball, kids playing out in the street-- that was kind of the history of the East Side,” Mazzarella said. ”(But) this is not just a park for the East Side, it’s for everyone.”

Mazzarella said the project represents the biggest change to the area in nearly six decades.

In addition to helping communities develop new parks while renovating existing ones, the grants -- which were administered through the state’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs -- will also be used to acquire over 13 acres of land across the state for outdoor recreation purposes.

Mazzarella said he enjoyed hearing from residents who have told him they had already noticed the improvements being made to the park.

“The feedback already, just from (people) seeing crews out there leveling the area, has been wonderful,” Mazzarella said.

Other communities receiving funding under the grant include Holyoke, Lawrence and Worcester.

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