On Monday, June 27, WPI President Dennis Berkey presented a check for $50,000 to Friends of Institute Park for its continued advocacy, programs, and efforts to improve the park. Paul Levenson, executive director of Friends of Institute Park, will be on hand to accept the check. In addition to the check presentation, a walking tour of the park highlighting the park’s improvement plan will be given. Worcester City Manager Michael O’Brien also attended.
The donation is just one example of the university’s cumulative support for the park’s revitalization. The park’s 2007 Master Plan, costing $50,000, was jointly underwritten by WPI and the City of Worcester. In 2009 WPI created a PILOT agreement with the City of Worcester that ensured financial support for both Institute Park and the Worcester Public Library over the next 25 years. At the time of the PILOT announcement, WPI also presented the Friends of Institute Park with a check for $50,000. The park, which abuts Salisbury Street and Park Avenue, has provided a source of recreation to, and a superb venue for concerts and other public events for, the residents Worcester – and the WPI community – since its 1887 opening.
The park’s features include a new concert shell, new and significantly upgraded electrical power to the park, and a beautiful new entrance plaza that incorporates Greek columns that have existed in the park for over 100 years but were largely unnoticed due to their former placement. Revitalization efforts in 2011 will also include refurbishing the park’s restroom facilities, building a new gazebo near the existing tennis courts, and enhancing existing pavilions. Future plans call for building a boat launch, relocating the tennis courts, creating additional walking paths, and a full restoration of Salisbury Pond. A valuable asset to the city, this park will provide the Worcester community with numerous performances by the Massachusetts Symphony Orchestra and other activities such as opportunities for nature and birding walks, snowshoeing and tracking hikes, and canoeing and paddle boating on Salisbury Pond.