Jarvis, with Freeman Lake in the background (SUN/Grant Welker)Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.
Jarvis, with Freeman Lake in the background (SUN/Grant Welker)

Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our SmugMug site.

CHELMSFORD -- The National Park Service chose Varney Playground for a location to mark the 50th anniversary of a key fund for park creation and improvement on Monday, as the agency's director tours the country to mark the milestone this summer.

The federal agency chose Varney because of its active recreation offerings, including swimming, baseball, basketball and a playground, and because of its accessibility to so many.

Varney was one of three Massachusetts parks to receive funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund this year, which is marking its 50th anniversary. About $248,000 from the fund has been matched by the town, covering costs of renovating the North Chelmsford park.

The National Park Service, while marking the Land and Water Conservation Fund anniversary, has also been advocating for an extension of the program by Congress before it expires next year.

"Believe it or not, the outdoors is actually good for you," National Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis said.

With the fund's support, Varney will be undergoing renovations that will improve fields, add handicapped-accessible walkways and a new nature trail, and install a small ramp for canoes and kayaks. Later phases, which will need additional funding, would include a relocated basketball court and renovations of a bathhouse that was built as part of the Works Progress Administration.

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