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Commentary: Foster St. Playground Status Update

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The Foster Street Playground was recently featured in a recent 311 report and I fell compelled to share some insights and history. My parents and I have attempted to address the abandonment of this city playground for many years to no avail. Our property abuts the playground; our kitchen windows look directly out on to the cars that now park there, and the filthy, crumbling, collapsing surface. It has been neglected by the city for many, many years.

Here’s the story. The property is still listed as a “park” with the Parks and Recreation Department; officially called the Foster Street Park, City Park #123, and built in 1930. I played there everyday as a child. It was my backyard. As the demographics of the area changed and fewer children were playing there, the city completely abandoned the property. Cars eventually started parking there. When the city didn’t take notice, more cars parked there. After a number of years, someone apparently with connections to City Hall, had neighborhood parking signs posted. I say ‘apparently’ because the Public Works Department does not have jurisdiction of the property, and therefore would not post signs as a matter of their standard practice.

Still today, the property belongs to Parks and Recreation which I doubt would authorize the posting of parking signs in a play area. Yes, it would be nice if the city would restore it to a park. I realize that parking is a high priority. I’d have no objections if Parks and Recreation turned the property over to Public Works and, at a minimum, completely rebuild the surface which is collapsing and caving in. After that, the city should regularly maintain it and keep it clean.

Councilor Edwards’ office has been attentive to dressing this issue, so I’m hopeful this will finally be resolved. That has not been the case with city officials in the past.  I bring this to the attention of the community here, again, because it was recently reference in your 311 report.

Fun fact, Paul Revere once owned a portion of the property. It was the site of his famous bell foundry.

Peter Petrigno

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One Reply to “Commentary: Foster St. Playground Status Update

  1. Thanks for posting this history and your experience with the park growing up, Peter.

    In the North End, we give about 56% of our available outdoor space to automobiles. 70% of that is for private car storage alone. With Puopolo Field closed, It’s closer to 75% of our outdoor space used exclusively for cars and car storage. See here for some graphics demonstrating this: https://twitter.com/balsama/status/1015513142326120449

    This is a somber ratio, especially when you consider that more than 50% of North End households don’t even own a car.

    It would be a shame for the Parks Department to officially relinquish this land for more car storage when we already give up so much.

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