BY TOM DALTON
---- — SALEM — The planned improvements to Splaine Park got a boost yesterday when the city received a $42,500 grant from MassDevelopment to assess contamination levels at the public playground.
“The improvements we want to implement there are only possible after the clean-up is properly done,” Mayor Kim Driscoll said in a statement. “MassDevelopment recognizes that fact and has, once again, been a strong partner in helping us to lead our city forward.”
The city received a $420,000 state grant more than a year ago to build a new baseball field at Splaine Park, install an irrigation system, rebuild bleachers and dugouts, erect play structures, construct a stone-dust bike and walking path around the perimeter, and enhance two main entrances.
However, plans were put on hold after coal ash was detected.
Local officials thanked MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development authority, for acting swiftly, which will allow the city to move forward on the site assessment. The state has granted Salem a one-year extension of a Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) grant.
The city will look for funds for the environmental cleanup once it knows the estimated cost.
Tom Dalton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.