At this week’s meeting of the Greenway Conservancy, the Board of Directors unanimously approved the $5 million construction of the Harbor Island Pavilion on Parcel 14 and lease to the National Park Service. The location will be near the carousel on the Greenway park between Christopher Columbus Park and the entrance to Quincy Market/Faneuil Hall.
The pavilion will be the land gateway to the Harbor Islands. According the National Park Service website: “The Harbor Park Pavilion will increase awareness of the offshore park, and will also provide information services for Greenway users, whether they are neighbors or visitors to Boston. Part of a larger Traveler Information System, the pavilion will be jointly managed by the National Park Service and Island Alliance, and staffed by trained volunteers and staff.”
According to the NPS, 90% of vistiors to the Harbor Islands arrive from Long Wharf. The pavilion will have a panel on each of the islands that is accessible by ferry from the Long Wharf terminal. Visitors will be directed from the pavilion, across Christopher Columbus Park to the ferry terminal. There will be no restrooms at the pavilion, although there was mention of possible retail sales for water, snacks and novelty items. The facility will be solar powered. Peter Gori, from the Boston Redevelopment Authority, said the city did not want to block the view to the harbor with restrooms.
Pending final federal approval, construction will start in April 2010 with expected completion in December 2010. Practically, the facility will be open for the 2011 season. The lease between the Conservancy and National Parks Service was supported by the State legislature in November 2009.
The facility construction (General Contractor: Turner Construction) will cost $5 million and is in the National Park Service budget for this year. Park rangers are expected to be available at the pavilion during the season. The NPS is paying $1 for the lease and will transfer the cost for trash and snow removal to the Conservancy.
As part of the construction, there will be substantial changes to the pathways and horticulture of Parcel 14, although access will be retained for the carousel. At the meeting, there was concern about public reaction to the trees being removed/transplanted to make room for the pavilion’s utilities. The Conservancy agreed to have a community meeting before construction starts. The idea of having a web camera to follow contruction was also suggested. More information is available on the Greenway Conservancy’s blog post.