Tornado-damaged park repaired, re-opened

Camp Wilder Park underwent nearly $1M in renovations

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The reopening of a Springfield park Tuesday stands among the many signs that western Massachusetts is recovering from the devastating June 1, 2011 tornado.

The 29-acre Camp Wilder Park, located off Parker Street in Sixteen Acres was hit hard by the twister. Some 15 acres of trees were knocked down in the storm.

New trees planted at Camp Wilder Park
New trees planted at Camp Wilder Park

Since then, the park has undergone a nearly $1 million renovation, paid for with grant money and private donations. The park now has open fields and improved playgrounds, parking, walking trails, and a pavilion.

Families couldn’t wait to bring their children to the refurbished park. Mother of three Eileen Appleby of nearby Wilbraham discovered Camp Wilder Park by accident.

“We came in and I just couldn’t believe my eyes. It’s a beauitful park. They did a nice job with the field, my son can play soccer. The playground is just the perfect size. good for all ages. We’re always looking for something to do in the summer,” Appleby said.

Terry Foley, who has lived on the edge of the park since 1986 told 22News that she is thrilled by the improvements, and that young families will be using the park.

“The park is just wonderful. And it’s just nice to see the kids are now going to enjoy coming here using the playground, soccer field and we’re just pleased they can use it, and so can we,” Foley said.

But the park’s pride and joy is to see trees growing again. 22News was there when volunteers planted new trees almost two years ago, and as the children who use Camp Wilder Park grew, so will the trees. Because without this greenery, a park just isn’t the same.

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