The Old North Church Foundation is seeking support for a Community Preservation Act (CPA) grant to supplement its own fundraising as part of renovations for its North garden area, along with accessibility and related infrastructure renovations. Rev. Stephen T. Ayres, Vicar and Executive Director of the Foundation, presented to North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) at their September 2019 meeting.

Video: Rev. Stephen T. Ayres of Old North Church Foundation presents to NEWRA

Old North has designed the renovation to open up the North courtyard and garden, known as the Washington Garden. They would like to make it an outdoor classroom space and educate students dedicated to Longfellow’s poem “Paul Revere’s Ride.” Teachers from the Eliot School as well as other community members and abutters have participated in community meetings about the renovations. The space would also be made available for community and private functions.

Schematic of the redesigned garden area on the north side of Old North Church

One of the items to go in the courtyard will be a granite fountain shaped like an oversized guitar pick. The fountain was designed through a Browne Fund grant. The poem “Paul Revere’s Ride” will be etched on the side with the church reflected in the fountain. There will also be a moveable planter with more interpretative plaques about Longfellow.

CPA grants provide support for historic preservation projects, as well as affordable housing and parks and open spaces. Last year Old North applied for CPA funds for restoration of the crypt. They did not receive a grant, as CPA funds went to Langone Park and Puopolo Field. The National Parks Service ended up being able to provide support for the crypt project, which will begin in late December.

A representative from the CPA staff in attendance at the meeting indicated there were two North End applications, including the Old North proposal. Lastly, Ayres reminded attendees that Old North Church provides free entry to Boston residents, despite an admission booth for out of town visitors.

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