Dozens of North End residents joined with Mayor Tom Menino on Friday morning for a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the newly renovated tot lot and wall construction at DeFilippo Playground, commonly known as “The Gassy.”
In a year-long series of community meetings, the City of Boston invested $933,000 to renovate certain areas of the interior North End park located at 135 Prince Street.
Playground improvements include replacement of the existing play structure, new toddler bucket swings, and a seating and gathering area. The fenced area has been enlarged to create a more open feeling in the play area. A new conversation area has also been added along Prince Street for passive recreation.
Wall improvements have opened up the existing brick wall along Snow Hill Street with brick pillars and ornamental metal fencing to increase visibility and light into the park. The wall was redesigned to improve safety within the park and provide increased visual appeal.
The celebration was combined with this year’s Mayor’s Coffee Hour, held previously at Christopher Columbus Park. Many residents had an opportunity to speak with Mayor Menino and Parks Department Commissioner, Toni Pollak.
Residents appeared very pleased with completion of the park’s renovations. Looking ahead, the two issues that appeared to be of most interest at the coffee hour were the need to renovate the “flights” area of the park, a crumbling area leading up to Hull Street and the recent scene of a large underage drinking bust. Secondly, several residents raised the ongoing debate regarding some dog owners that don’t pick up after their pets and use off-limit areas such as neighborhood ball fields. The “flights” area of the Gassy is one area often mentioned for a future dog park.
Speaking at the event were Mayor Tom Menino, Parks Commissioner Toni Pollak, City Councilor Sal LaMattina and State Representative Aaron Michlewitz. City of Boston Project Managers responsible for planning the renovations were Michele Folts and Cathy Baker-Eclipse. The reopening event included face painting, live music by Singer-Guitarist Ron Goldman, coffee from Dunkin Donuts and refreshments by H.P. Hood.
Photos by Matt Conti.