A ribbon cutting ceremony was held to officially re-open Veterans Park after undergoing $1.4million in renovations over the past 9 months. The speakers included Mayor Alex B. Morse, Ralph Lefebvre, Chaplin of the United Veterans of Holyoke, Jennifer Gilburg, chair of the Parks and Recreation Commission, City Council President Kevin A. Jourdain, State Representative and City Councilor Aaron Vega, and Kurt Gaertner, director of the Commonwealth’s Gateway Cities parks program.
The facelift includes new sidewalks, walkways and ADA ramps, new grass, benches, trash receptacles, bike racks, ornamental fencing, electrical work and LED lamps, drainage and other items. The monuments were preserved with new fencing surrounding them including the centerpiece monument dedicated to those 58 Holyoke residents who fought and died in the Civil War.
These improvements were made possible by a Gateway Cities Parks grant from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Veterans Park serves as a focal point in Area 2 of the Holyoke Redevelopment Authority’s urban renewal plan, “Connect. Construct. Create”. The park is flanked by other investments such as the $10 million renovation for the Holyoke Transportation Center completed in 2010, the $21.9 million renovation of the Holyoke Health Center completed in 2005 and expected to break ground later this year is the renovation former Holyoke Catholic High School campus into roughly 50 units of workforce housing.