Mayor Thomas M. Menino has announced that the Friends of Christopher Columbus Park (FOCCP) has been awarded a $20,000 Beautify Boston Grant, which will be used for improvements to the park’s southeast corner. FOCCP is the all-volunteer booster organization that funds the winter trellis lighting and other park activities. The grant allows FOCCP to start the $80,000 redesign, enlargement, and irrigation of the currently isolated Crossroads Circle lying at the north entrance of the Marriott Long Wharf on the walkway from the Greenway to the harbor. In the Mayor’s words, “Our partners, including those in the North End, help to keep our city livable and beautiful and we want to help them in these efforts.”
“FOCCP is thrilled to receive this grant, which reflects a vote of confidence that the City has in our all-volunteer organization,” said Joanne Hayes-Rines, president of FOCCP. “We’ve wanted to beautify the arid circle for years and transform it into a tranquil ‘mini-park’ within one of the City’s most beautiful open spaces, Christopher Columbus Park. As one of the most successful Friends groups to support a city park, we are very grateful for this Beautify Boston grant, as well as for our members and sponsors in Boston and outside the city who help us fund this and other activities.”
The upgrading of the Crossroads Circle at Christopher Columbus Park would complete the intent of the City’s large-scale 200l renovation. With budget constraints at that time, the City did not have the opportunity to redesign and beautify this particular space as envisioned. The creation of a sustainable and irrigated planting area would greatly enhance the visitor experience in this portion of the park. This area has seen a significant increase in use due to the opening of the ferry terminal to the Boston Harbor National Recreation Area on the nearby pier.
The Beautify Boston Grant Program was created by Mayor Menino to support significant community-initiated beautification and infrastructure projects that will enhance usability and transform our neighborhoods’ open spaces. The Friends of Christopher Columbus Park was also recently awarded a $10,000 grant from the Blossom Fund of the Boston Committee of the Garden Club of America, also for the Crossroads Circle.
FOCCP President, Joanne Hayes-Rines, led the grant process with other volunteers, supported by letters from several neighborhood groups (NEWRA, Wharf District Council and NEMPAC), local businesses and NorthEndWaterfront.com. The effort has the preliminary go-ahead by the Boston Parks Department that owns the public park. The group will continue to work closely with Boston Parks Commissioner Antonia Pollak and Boston’s Chief Landscape Architect Liza Meyer.
“There is still much work to do in terms of design and fundraising for the $80,000 project,” said Hayes-Rines. “FOCCP itself will contribute a similar amount and look for contributions from neighbors and businesses for the balance.”
The Friends of Christopher Columbus Park (FOCCP) is an all-volunteer non-profit organization comprised of North End and Waterfront neighbors whose purpose is to further the restoration, protection, preservation, care, enhancement, improvement, and maintenance of the Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park. The FOCCP works closely with the City of Boston Parks and Recreation Department to keep the park clean and well- maintained, and with other city and state organizations to improve the park to enrich the lives of both residents and visitors to Boston.
The current officers FOCCP are Joanne Hayes-Rines (President), Trish Baumer (Vice President), Virginia Kimball (Treasurer) and Audrey Tortolani (Clerk). Board members are Joe Bono, Ford Cavallari, Meghan Denenberg, Beverly Knight, Robyn Reed and Christina Sperry.
Please join us at our monthly meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 12, 6:30 pm at the Mariners’ House (11 North Square) for more information about the project or see our website at FOCCP.org.