Boston Parks and Recreation held the third community meeting on planned improvements for the DeFilippo Playground (“Gassy”) on Monday, April 4, 2011. The video clip above shows the full presentation by Michelle Folts (Parks Department) and consultant Tamar Zimmerman with the some of the Q&A period attended by approximately 15 residents. Comments and feedback can be sent to Michelle Folts at email@example.com and Cathy Baker-Eclipse at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Highlights from the meeting:
- Residents generally liked the proposed layout plan with some disappointment that the limited budget eliminated or reduced some park amenities that were previously discussed. The City’s budget of $275,000 was stretched to slightly over $290,000 under the proposed layout.
- Priorities: Fix the drainage, improve the lighting and making the playground safe and fun for neighborhood kids.
- “Don’t do anything before you fix the drainage problem!” That was a primary message from several neighbors. A company tried to video the drainage pipes, but it did not come out. A second effort will be made to determine the drainage problem and a civil engineer engaged for repair. Officials believe tree roots are causing a lot of the problems with the drains.
- Several new lights will be added at strategic locations throughout the park. Motion lighting may be considered if the budget allows. One resident thought motion lights might keep dogs out of the tot lot at night.
- Boston Parks Department will have a follow-up meeting with the Mothers’ group to refine details of the play equipment which will be geared for 2-5 year olds. Swings will be a major component of the park, both inside the fenced play lot and rehabing the existing swings for older kids.
- The new tot lot will use the same edge, but have new surfacing and new equipment. There is a trike loop around the play lot. Picnic tables and seating will be enhanced for parents.
- The enclosed play area is intended to discourage dogs in the fenced area. Concerns were raised regarding the significant amount of dog waste in the park and the longevity of the grass. Planners believe that having raised and fenced in grass areas may help.
- Most of the existing trees will be kept in place. Lawn areas will be raised with edges to help maintain them.
- A picnic area will be added outside of the play area for seniors and adults. Exercise equipment is no longer being considered due to budget constraints.
- Boston Police’s Sgt. Lema attended the meeting and suggested ways to make the park safer, such as improved lighting and cutting back trees. The City’s tree warden will be directing pruning of various trees in the park. He also suggested limited the number of entrances to the play lot for security reasons and putting bars on benches to discourage sleeping.
There was a discussion regarding how neighbors can support the Gassy beyond the City’s budget. Comparisons were made to Christopher Columbus Park where a large Friends group supports the park. “We don’t pay more attention to those parks than others, but they put their money where their mouths are and it makes a huge difference,” said Parks Department project manager Michelle Folts.
In answer to questions about additional benches, the Parks Department said their budget does not allow for more than in the proposed layout. However, the department does offer a Tree and Bench Donation program. A new donated bench would cost $5,000 in a neighborhood park according to the City’s website.
The next meeting will be held in 6-8 weeks with a final design after the drainage problem is better analyzed. Construction is planned for the Fall of 2011 after Feast season.
Update on Snow Hill Street wall project along DeFilippo Playground
Contractor bids are due next week and construction will begin in June 2011 to replace the wall. Click here for details on this project.
The image below shows the layout discussed at the meeting.
The image below contains examples of play equipment, curbing and seating.