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This is the first in a series of blog posts on the investments the Patrick Administration has made in parks, outdoor recreation and the people our parks programs affect.  Governor Patrick likes to say that “policy only matters at the point that it touches people.”  That is particularly true when it comes to parks, trails and open spaces.  The goal of this blog series is to share the stories of the people who play in Massachusetts parks, walk and bike on our trails, and swim in our ponds and pools.

EEA Secretary Rick Sullivan and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno are working together to make upgrades to Camp Star Angelina. (photo credit: Michael Tully, City of Springfield)

EEA Secretary Rick Sullivan and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno are working together to make upgrades to Camp Star Angelina. (photo credit: Michael Tully, City of Springfield)

While we shovel, sled, and skate our way through another Massachusetts winter, our team has also started to plan for the summer ahead.  In December, Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rick Sullivan visited Forest Park in Springfield to formalize an agreement to make upgrades to Camp STAR Angelina, an inclusive camp that serves children from ages three to 22 of all abilities, that is administered by the City of Springfield.  Secretary Sullivan and Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno committed to investing $1.825 million to upgrade the park, including building a sloped zero-depth entry pool and a bath house, an outdoor amphitheater and a trail. All of these elements will be universally accessible. The City will open these facilities to the general public when camp is not in session.

For Secretary Sullivan, the best part of the contract signing was meeting Camp STAR Angelina campers and their families and hearing their stories.  One of those campers was 20-year old Springfield Resident Meagan Pelletier. Meagan talked to us about her experience at Camp STAR Angelina and what the new facilities will mean for her and her fellow campers.

Meagan Pelletier is looking forward to this summer at Camp STAR Angelina.

Meagan Pelletier is looking forward to this summer at Camp STAR Angelina.

“I had a really awesome first year at camp,” said Meagan, “and I want to go back this year and volunteer and then hopefully next year I get the job to become a camp counselor.”

Meagan’s favorite camp memories are swimming, making friends (who she keeps in touch with during the winter), making s’mores, frosting cupcakes and feeding the ducks at the pond.

On what the improvements to camp will mean for her, Meagan said, “I can’t wait to see the look on everyone’s faces when they go to camp and see all the new things, it’s so rewarding for the camp! I’m really exciting to go in the pool and see the new bathhouse and it’s just going to look so amazing and beautiful!”

Our team at EEA will be working with Mayor Sarno and Patrick J. Sullivan, Springfield’s Executive Director of Parks, Buildings and Recreation Management, to complete this project by the end of 2014.

Camp STAR Angelina's new facilities.

Camp STAR Angelina’s new facilities.

Written By:

Program Manager for Urban Parks

With a background in logistics and project management, Sam has joined the EEA team to help manage the Patrick Administration’s urban parks initiatives. Sam grew up in Cambridge and now lives in Boston. After leaving Massachusetts to attend Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, he came back to work on Governor Patrick’s advance team, where he spent over two years planning and staffing events across the Commonwealth. In his free time, Sam enjoys skiing, biking, Boston sports, and occasionally heading back across the Charles River for home-cooked meals with his family.

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