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New $28 M Budget for Boston Common

Thanks to the sale of the Winthrop Garage, Boston’s 50-acre, 385-year-old green space has a dedicated budget of $28 million to fund infrastructure improvements and increase the park’s resiliency. The work detailed in the Boston Common Master Plan is projected to take 18 months, and includes a range of improvements.

Some key areas identified for investment are the Frog Pond and pathways, which will be improved and widened. All improvements will need to withstand New England weather and the test of time. The consulting team, Weston & Sampson has hired landscape architects, civil, structural, and infrastructure engineers, environmental site professionals, and stormwater experts. The team has been studying the park and meeting with stakeholder groups since April 2019.

“This outreach process is designed to make sure that the Boston Common truly lives up to its reputation as ‘the people’s park’—accessible and welcoming to all, supporting a wide variety of uses that reflect the needs of the community today and into the future,” said Liz Vizza, Executive Director of the Friends of the Public Garden.

“Boston Common has always been a park by and for the people of our city,” said Boston Parks commissioner Ryan Woods. And to make America’s oldest park better, the Boston Parks and Recreation Department and Friends of the Public Garden (a.k.a. the Friends) want to hear from you: when you visit, how often, and how safe you feel, for instance. And since the slate is relatively blank, suggestions and new ideas are wanted, too.

The goal, according to the Master Plan website, is to “achieve an atmosphere of civic access and engagement with a profound sense of identity and a deep-rooted connection to this historic yet vibrant city.” What does that mean? Well, it could mean more benches, landscaping, public workshops, gardens, and sculptures like Embrace, the MLK memorial. You can fill out the online survey through December 31 to offer feedback.

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