Greenway Conservancy Talks Pavilion for Parcel 21; No Greenway Gardens

In a new blog post, the Greenway Conservancy reviews the discussion from last week’s Board meeting regarding a proposed reconfiguration of Parcel 21, including a possible pavilion structure. Parcel 21 is near the Intercontinental Hotel & Residences and Russia Wharf (to be renamed Atlantic Wharf upon completion). This pavilion discussion is separate and distinct from the Harbor Islands Pavilion which was approved for Parcel 14 (by Christopher Columbus Park).

Lawn, Landscape & Pavillion Diagram - Parcel 21
Lawn, Landscape & Pavillion Diagram – Parcel 21

An excerpt: “While addressing the ongoing maintenance issues on the site, the Conservancy has also had the opportunity to observe how park visitors are using the park. In essence it has become a pass-through space because it lacks basic amenities like shade, wind protection, seating and other conveniences of a modern urban park like a place to grab a cup of coffee or a cold drink in the summer and Wi-Fi.  Early concepts answer these needs by proposing a small visitor pavilion in Parcel 21 that would serve residents, office workers, and visitors to this portion of the Greenway. In this concept, a visitor pavilion would be a lightweight, flexible park support facility, scaled to complement the landscape.” Read more.

The Conservancy’s blog post shows a top-down schematic, but does not show the picture of the concept pavilion that was presented at the meeting. Nor are comments allowed on the Conservancy’s blog, although there is an email for feedback and the promise of upcoming working sessions for the project.

Conservancy Executive Director Nancy Brennan and Board Chair Peter Meade (both in center) lead the February 2, 2010 Conservancy Board meeting at 185 Kneeland St.
Conservancy Executive Director Nancy Brennan and Board Chair Peter Meade (both in center) lead the February 2, 2010 Conservancy Board meeting at 185 Kneeland St.

In order to pursue this concept, the original “Greenway Gardens” would have to be removed. The Conservancy cites problems with the soil and irrigation of the gardens. In response to concerns about development on the site, Board Chair Peter Meade, reiterated “We are not building a building.” One audience member queried, “then why do you need an architect?” A GLC member also suggested that Parcel 22 might be more appropriate for a pavilion because the vent tunnel is already there. At a previous meeting, the rough budget number to reconfigure parcels 19, 21 and 22 was $5 million.

A group of local horticulturists has formed, “Saving Boston’s Greenway Gardens” to oppose the idea of a pavilion as explained on their own blog post. Parcels 19, 21 and 22 were originally planted by the Massachusetts Horticultural Society (MassHort) using primarily volunteers. The Conservancy and MassHort no longer work together (see The Greenway Conservancy Rift with MassHort).

On the subject of park management, Karen Cord Taylor compares the Rose Kennedy Greenway and Esplanade in an article, “Two Parks, Two Ways.

“The Esplanade Association (TEA) and the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) recently held “visioning” workshops, inviting everyone to dream dreams about the Esplanade. The Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy also held public meetings recently, characterized by charges that the Conservancy has not invited enough people to consider its plans.” Read more.