By G. Michael Dobbs
SPRINGFIELD – A state grant will help fund a facility that will make a difference in the lives of disabled children.
Energy and Environment Secretary Rick Sullivan formally announced on May 2 that $1.22 million has been allocated to Camp STAR Angelina at Forest Park. The city will invest $600,000 in the project.
Mayor Domenic Sarno called the news about the grant “a truly heart-warming announcement.”
The camp’s director, Jennifer Colglazier, explained summer camp program serves 150 campers during a six-week program conducted at Cyr Arena. About 80 percent of the campers are disabled and many of their siblings serve as camp volunteers. It costs $250 for a three-week period, which includes transportation and a daily meal.
The state and city funding will pay for the construction of a zero-depth entry pool, accessible bathhouse, a universal outdoor amphitheater and an accessible trail to Porter Lake. The facilities will also be used for a variety of other programs.
Colglazier said her staff was especially excited about the zero-depth pool that will allow campers to get into the water without a ladder.
“It will be like at the beach,” she said.
Carol Aubin, who is a member of the friends group supporting the camp and whose son went to the camp, said the improvements “have been a long time coming.”
City Councilor Kateri Walsh said the camp is the first universal day camp in the New England.
The pool is expected to be ready for the campers to use this summer and the rest of the improvements should be completed in September.