SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- If you drive I-91 South or Hall of Fame Avenue in Springfield, you may have noticed some construction along the water over the past year or so.
Crews have been working to restore Riverfront Park and now, they’re about wrapped up.
Springfield’s riverfront has a park again.
“We're back to the future, really reinvigorating and utilizing an underutilized riverfront area," said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.
We’re told the massive renovation project cost a little more than $3 million to complete. A mix of federal, state, local, and private funds made it possible.
“This is a great project," said Springfield's executive director of parks and buildings Patrick Sullivan.
Western Mass News cameras were there for the soft opening on Wednesday to see how this money was put to use.
There's a new splash pad, perfect for cooling off in these summer months. There’s also a toboggan swing and a climbing structure made of rope and wood, which gives you some great views of the river from up above.
Sarno said his favorite part is the view.
“Looking at that proud American flag as it waves through the sky. [It's a big one too.] ...and it just looks fantastic," Sarno added.
For Sullivan, he likes the versatility.
“We have a new and improved festival field on the south end of the park. In the lower part, we have the improved lower festival field. [So you can have two events?] Yup, you can have two events going on very comfortably. We have plenty of parking under I-91 north and south," Sullivan explained.
You can also rent it out for parties.
“You pull a park permit, call our recreation division," Sullivan noted.
Don’t forget, it’s all under the watchful eye of a Springfield Police substation, which will be the base for lots of patrols in the South End.
“It's clean, it's safe, it's idyllic, it's eclectic, and it's just the scenic view is fantastic. [Worth every penny?] It certainly is," Sarno explained.
The park is now open for all to enjoy, though some work still needs to be done, including the finishing touches to the 9/11 Memorial, which will be unveiled to the public next week.
"It's going to be tremendously tasteful, respectful, and we're doing it in the twilight, so you can see the beaming of it," Sarno said.