The first planning meeting was held on May 28th to discuss improvements to Rachel Revere Square Park, adjacent to North Square in Boston’s North End. Rachel Revere Square is maintained by the Boston Parks & Recreation Department that has currently budgeted $180,000 for this project, with an additional $172,000 requested by planners for a total spend of $352,000.
Meeting attendees emphasized the need for coordination with the adjacent North Square improvements currently in the design stage by Boston Public Works. A meeting last November highlighted neighborhood concerns with early plans for North Square. [See Neighborhood Reacts Negatively to Preliminary North Square Reconstruction Design].
Parks Department staff and landscape architect Kyle Zick reviewed the Rachel Revere Square site status and its history. The space was once occupied by buildings including the famous Hotel Rome. The open space was originally designed by Arthur Shurtleff who also created the famous Prado (Paul Revere Mall) off Hanover Street. Rachel Revere Square was later modified in the 1970’s by Carol Johnson along with North Square. At the bottom of this post is an image of the original park in the 1950’s.
Rachel Revere Square serves various constituencies including use as a playground for St. John School afternoon activities and for tourist staging of Freedom Trail visitors and North End walking tours. In addition, the relative privacy of the space makes it a hangout spot at night.
In addition to basic infrastructure, safety and drainage repairs, some specific suggestions included softening the hard pavement, changing or eliminating the wall structure, removing the trellis and improving the built-in cement seating.
One significant idea discussed would open up the park to North Square and bring the benches to the outside perimeter. There currently is no other seating in the immediate area other than the well-used picnic tables donated by abutter Sandro Carella.
Additional ideas included more greenery and shading because the square receives so much sun. Lighting at night was also noted as a necessity.
Historic cues were cited as important to highlight, including the inside wall plaque. There is an opportunity to add engraved quotes and other descriptive elements. One item suggested for removal was the standalone wayfinder on the exterior of the park, near the corner of North Street.
The following image shows the original space, presumably from the 1950’s/1960’s. Note the center flagpole in the middle of the square.
The next community meeting regarding the improvements to Rachel Revere Square Park will be in June 2015. Check our Events Calendar.
After three community input meetings this year, a final design is being targeted for Fall 2015 with construction expected to begin in 2016. Comments can be sent to Allison Perlman, Boston Parks, at email@example.com.
Please view the video above for the complete presentation and discussion.