The second of three planned meetings regarding improvements to Rachel Revere Square Park was held on Thursday, July 16th. Hosted by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department and the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, meeting attendees joined at the St. John’s School to discuss existing conditions and potential park improvements to the square. Although the 2016 budget has not been approved yet, the project is budgeted for a total of $352,000 with an additional funds request accounting for $172,000 of the total project.
As discussed during the first meeting, the park has several problems with retaining walls, cracked bricks, and other issues that contribute to the overall poor condition of the space. Residents expressed that drainage is an issue, the park is dark at night, the seating is uncomfortable, edges of the wall need to be softened and there is a lack of “greenery”.
Using feedback from that meeting, four different concept renderings were presented for public input to discuss thoughts on the design concepts and potential amenities to the park. The design goals consist of maintaining the historical implications of the park while having appropriate lighting, and an open safe area that is separated from traffic and more inviting to the community.
All four concept renderings include trash receptacles in addition to a total face-lift of the park. Take a look at concepts 1 through 4:
Concept 1 offers an open concept, bringing new trees providing shaded seating along new benches. Utilizing different levels (flights) for different uses and different seating arrangements throughout the park.
Concept 2 utilizes a “Z” shaped stair pattern that will allow for more active play space, while trees provide shade and free standings seats along the outskirts of the park that also act as a barrier.
Concept 3 consists of a more stadium styled seating, with a larger garden/planting bed. Opening the view to the Paul Revere House and North Square, the trees are on the east side of the park with “informal seating,” offering the largest open play space of any of the four concepts.
Feedback of the concepts from residents expressed the need and want for drinking water, especially if children are expected to be playing in the open area. There was some concern about the stairs, making sure kids do not fall and that seniors can access the park. Several options were discussed and many wanted functional yet comfortable seating in the park.
Residents were excited about the walls being shortened, making the park more inviting to the community. In addition, there were positive comments about the attention to detail taken in regards to sun and shade while keeping the view of the interests of the Paul Revere House and North Square at the forefront. Others voiced concerns for the risk of skateboarding and misuse of the space and making sure that plants do not lead to this space becoming another dog park.
An important aspect of the improvements was the strategic use of different materials to accommodate the use of the park, which is currently asphalt. What materials would be utilized for best use of the park?
Officials are hoping for construction to begin in the Spring of 2016, which is expected to take about 3 months to complete once the ground has been broken.
The date for the third and final community meeting has yet to be determined. Comments are welcome below or direct to firstname.lastname@example.org.