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Open Space and Recreation Plan for the City of Fall River, 2004

Mayor Edward M. Lambert, Jr. held a forum in April to gather input and ideas from residents to be utilized in the development of a new five-year Open Space and Recreation Plan for the City of Fall River.

In 1997, the first plan was developed. This Master Plan set forth goals for Fall River's parks, recreation needs and protection of open space. The visionary plan set forth several lofty goals. Many of the goals were reached and in several instances the results exceeded expectaions.
Under this plan, the Southeastern Massachusetts Bioreserve was created, besides protecting 13,600 acres of valuable watershed lands and ensuring the protection of our water supply for generations to come, this unprecedented, landmark accomplishment has opened the door to recreational and educational oppotunities for the city's residents in an exceptional setting. Access to the city's waterways and waterfront were issues raised in the last plan. Since that time, the city, working in partnership with the state and other entities, has moved froward with renovations and improvements to the South Watuppa Pond (Dave's Beach) boat ramp and an extended boardwalk along the waterfront (Taunton River) is nearing completion and will soon be open to the general public. Improvements to parks were called for in the last plan and the subsequent renovations to one of the city's main Olmstead Parks, Kennedy Park, has made that area clean and inviting once again to residents. Under the plan, two new skate parks were created in city parks and swimming pools at other parks were improved. Besides improvements to parks, additional recreational opportunities were created when new soccer and baseball fields were constructed at school sites throughout the city. Improvements to tot lots around the city have provided safe and handicap accessible play facilities for the city's youngest and littlest citizens. Design work on the Quequechan Bike Path proposed in the last plan continues and an urban charette that was held brought forth ideas on restoring and releasing the Quequechan River.

2004 Fall River Open Space & Recreation Committee:

Margaret Anderson - The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission
Pat Casey - Fall River City Council
Priscilla Chapman - Environmental Officer, Fall River Conservation Commission
James Hartnett - Director, Fall River Planning & Engineering Department
Richard Kitchen - Director, Fall River Park Department
Michael Labossiere - The Trustees of Reservations
Alfred Lima - Green Futures
Ken Pacheco - Fall River Board of Park Commissioners
James Smith - Director of Municipal Services, City of Fall River

Fall River Open Space Plan - 1997


This 1997 Fall River Open Space and Recreation Plan represents the City's first-ever comprehensive approach to protecting its abundant natural resources and providing outdoor recreational opportunities for the public to connect with and enjoy Fall River's varied and scenic landscape. The Plan is designed to meet the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' 1990 Open Space and Recreation Plan requirements set forth by the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs - Division of Conservation Services and will make the city eligible for state and federal funding assistance for open space acquisition and recreational facility improvements. The Plan outlines a 5 year Plan of Action and will need to be updated in 2001 to keep the City eligible for grant assistance.

The themes of this Open Space and Recreation Plan are Watersheds, Greenways and Streetscapes. It is based on the premise that conservation of critical natural and water resources, expansion and improvement of City greenspaces, and enhancement of the quality of the City's public face are essential to the maintenance and improvement of quality of life for City residents and the attractiveness and desirability of the City for economic and community development. In short, the Plan contains:

  • A compilation and analysis of the City's natural resources - its waters, forests and habitats
  • An existing inventory of all permanently protected open space and outdoor recreational facilities within the City of Fall River
  • A vision for local and regionally connected greenspaces to connect the City's urban residents with Fall River's scenic open spaces
  • Commitments to increase protection of the Watuppa and Copicut Water Supply and to restore the City's park system and increase its accessibility for all Fall River residents
  • A statement of Open Space Goals and Objectives and a Five Year Action Plan designed to implement these objectives in a realistic and planned approach
  • Models and recommendations for turning the Plan into Action

The Fall River Open Space and Recreation Committee, established by Mayor Lambert in June 1996, oversaw development of this Plan and coordinated a public brainstorming meeting and survey to gather input as to the concerns and visions of Fall River residents. The Committee was granted assistance in the writing and research of the Plan by the Buzzards Bay Project National Estuary Program.

Overall, the Plan recognizes Fall River's tremendous natural assets and its unique scenic landscape. Bracketed by the Bay and the Watuppa Ponds, surrounded by pristine forestland - Fall River as an urban center is truly unique and special. These unique assets need to be preserved. The Plan also recognizes the need to restore degraded natural areas - wetlands, ponds and rivers - and at the same time improve the public's accessibility and connections to natural areas through new initiatives such as the Quequechan River Bikeway. Finally, the City needs to maintain public greenspaces and amenities where people live by improving its parks and streetscapes.