Federal Grant for Magnolia (MA) Park Project

Manchester and Gloucester, MA, 1/14/02: A local campaign to create a new community park in Magnolia village has reached its $2.4 million fundraising goal, thanks to a $350,000 grant from the federal government’s Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program. The funding was authorized by the Commerce-Justice-State Appropriations bill, which funds the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other coastal programs.

“The campaign to preserve this property in the heart of Magnolia village for public use has been an extraordinary partnership among the local communities, neighborhood associations, and the Trust for Public Land,” said Congressman John Tierney, “and I am extremely pleased that the federal government, through this grant, has joined that partnership so that construction of a new community park can now be completed. Congratulations to everyone who has made this happen in what has to be record time.”

“We are extremely grateful to the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program,” said Nellie Aikenhead, project manager for the Trust for Public Land, which currently owns the property. “Combined with contributions from the Commonwealth, Manchester, Gloucester, and local residents, this grant has brought the fundraising campaign for acquisition and park construction across the finish line. We will, however, continue to gratefully accept contributions for the maintenance endowment.”

The $2.4 million raised will be used to cover the acquisition price of the property as well as the estimated costs of planning, demolition, permitting, pavement removal, drainage improvements, landscaping, and creation of a $100,000 maintenance endowment. Last April, the Trust for Public Land purchased the 2-acre property, site of the former Surf Restaurant, and launched a fundraising campaign to convert it into a public park.

The property, which lies along Magnolia Avenue in Gloucester and Raymond Street in Manchester, offers scenic views of Kettle Cove and was previously the target of an intensive development proposal. Project partners include the Trust for Public Land, Massachusetts congressional delegation, Gray Beach Neighborhood Association, Magnolia Neighborhood Association, Town of Manchester, and City of Gloucester.

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving land for people to enjoy as parks and open space. Since 1972, TPL has protected more than 1.4 million acres nationwide, including nearly 100,000 acres in New England. The Wall Street Journal’s Smart Money Magazine recently named TPL the nation’s most efficient large conservation charity for the second year in a row, based on the percentage of funds dedicated to programs.