The Malden City Council this week approved a $400,000 appropriation from the Community Preservation Act (CPA) to help subsidize the costs associated with a $2.2 million improvement project at Kierstead Park, which is located on Eastern Avenue in Ward 7.
Originally envisioned as a multi-phased improvement program, the project was reimagined by Ward 7 Councillor Chris Simonelli to be an all-encompassing, single-phase initiative. According to Simonelli, “The focus of the site improvements is two-fold: to create a destination playground for children of all ages and abilities and to upgrade the existing Little League baseball field.”
The renovation plan calls for the removal of the existing playground; the installation of new play equipment with a colorful, large, tall climbing/sliding structure for ages five to 12 and a new structure with diverse activities for children ages two to five; new fencing will be installed around the playground and adjacent open space and around the field; the infield and outfield of a reorientated field will be rebuilt, and two sets of bleachers and players’ benches will be installed. Further, all but one of the existing trees within the park will be preserved, and new trees of varying types will be planted. The field is used by the Little League.
Councillor Simonelli said that the improved park will be a “great community asset.” “The playground, in particular, is in dire need of repair,” he said. Once complete, the park, which is difficult to navigate for residents with disabilities, will be “much more accessible.” The Councillor applauded the Mayor for supporting this program with much-needed financial resources.
In addition to the CPA funds, the project has received a $100,000 state budget earmark, $900,000 in American Rescue Plan Act Funds from the City of Malden and a $400,000 Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) Grant from the Commonwealth, and it has applied for a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant, which should go before the City Council for action sometime in late April or early May. Construction should start this spring. Malden’s Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development will administer this project.