The City of Boston Public Works presented three conceptual designs this week for the renovation of North Square in Boston’s North End. The meeting was held on September 17, 2015, at the St. John School, just up the street from the historical site that is being designed for reconstruction. This is the second meeting on the public square reconstruction. [See Neighborhood Reacts Negatively to Preliminary North Square Reconstruction Design.]
The designs will retain the existing cobblestones in the square after leveling the surface and reseting them. Restoring the cobblestones was very much favored by the public. Abutters were mindful, however, that snow removal, maintenance, and wheel chairs are all challenging with the cobblestone surface.
The reconstruction was presented and discussed from top to bottom, covering everything from vehicle access, benches and tables, to the materials and aesthetics of the square. Neighborhood residents sat through the presentation of three proposals for design concepts, sharing their opinions and provide insights on the design.
Maintaining the historical essence of the square while improving functionality and usage was a key concept throughout the meeting. Being on the Freedom Trail and home to the Paul Revere House, the site welcomes over 4 million visitors each year. Preserving the appearance of the square while making it accessible for everyone to enjoy the open space with “multiple urban uses,” was a challenge according to Public Works and their consultants.
After feedback from the previous reconstruction meeting, the chains and bollards were configured into the new designs after many people spoke in favor of keeping the chains while allowing for access openings.
In addition to the aesthetics, residents made it clear that sidewalks and vehicle access were prominent issues to be addressed.
Above, enjoy complete video coverage of the meeting!
The next meeting is not yet scheduled but there was talk of a meeting that combines the North Square reconstruction with the Rachel Revere Square Park reconstruction. A tentative construction start date was mentioned for Spring 2016.
For additional information, visit Boston Works Projects or contact Joseph Fleury, Assistant Civil Engineer at (617) 635-4968.
The full presentation with renderings of the three designs are shown below. Feel free to tell us your favorite in the comments section!