North End Parks Community Meeting – March 12, 2014

12, Mar, 2014 Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy

This is an outline of what we presented at the North End Parks Community meeting on March 12, 2014. We’ve added some additional details on Friday, March 14, 2014, including a summary of questions and answers.  You can  Download a copy of the presentation.

Conservancy Staff together with Board Member Robyn Reed held a community meeting to discuss proposed improvements to the North End parks on the Rose Kennedy Greenway.  We also welcomed Lynden B. Miller of New York as our consultant helping us think through the design and implementation approach.


We began by reviewing park improvements that were completed in 2013, which included:

  • Planting of thousands of bulbs by community volunteers as well Conservancy staff and volunteers.
  • Repairs to the pavement / walkways – involving the reinstallation and resetting of granite pavers along portions of the fountains.
  • Planting of six large trees in the lawns of North End Park parcels 8 and 10.
  • Purchase and installation of new tables and chairs as well as large shade umbrellas.

The goals for the meeting were presented – We’re working to create a guide to direct ongoing care as well as fundraising efforts to implement proposed improvements.  We’re taking into account input from both the community as well as professional expertise in developing this plan, working to enhance the year-round public experience, working within the strengths of the existing formal design and continuing to integrate our best practices of organic care while at the same time recognizing the evolution of adjacent development around the North End Parks.

Our proposal is broken into two parts:

  1. Park Infrastructure Repair and Improvements
  2. Park Horticulture

In Parks Infrastructure Repair and improvements, there are a number of projects that we are seeking funding for.  These include:

  • Repair Fountain Leak on Parcel 8.
  • Repair Freedom Trail Lighting.
  • Repair Sidewalk Slabs.
  • Replace Substandard Upright Lighting.
  • Restore Finish on Metal Railings.
  • Resurface Corroded Pergola Support Posts.
  • Repair/Replace Worn Furniture.  (Benches, Tables and Chairs) – See Park Furniture section at the end for additional information and ideas.

For further detail, please refer to the PowerPoint Presentation – Download a copy of the presentation.

In Park Horticulture, there are two major projects:

–          Pergola Planting Beds

–          Boxwood Beds

In looking at the Pergola and suggestions that we have heard in past community meetings, we took the time to think through all of the possibilities for providing more shade as well as four-season interest.  After much discussion of options, we are proposing to replant the pergola beds, retaining the trees and evergreen junipers, adding mid-height shrubs for diversity and adding in punches of high color roses.  All existing plants (including our many daffodil bulbs planted by volunteers) will be transplanted to other park locations and re-planted.

The Proposal for Spring 2014 is to renovate the Parcel 10 pergola planting bed and to renovate the Parcel 8 pergola planting bed when funds are raised.  The cost will be $25,000 and the Conservancy has the funds in hand for the Parcel 10 Pergola planting bed.

In looking at the Boxwood Beds, we have a number of objectives, including

  • Seasonality – 4 seasons of vibrancy and interest
  • Color palette – add diversity
  • Height and Texture – add more variety
  • Entrances – create a more welcoming experience
  • Existing plant conditions – create a more healthy environment

The Design approach is holistic and the Conservancy has engaged Lynden B. Miller to work on this effort with our staff.  This is her first project that she has ever done outside of New York City, but she has a lot of experience working to create and maintain beautiful parks in a wide variety of neighborhoods and locations.

Lynden Miller spoke about her experience in New York City.  She has worked on over 30 gardens and parks in about 33 years in a wide variety of different neighborhoods.  Her focus is to bring beauty to any project, with four-season interest, the ability to ensure that the designs are installed correctly and maintained beautifully for years to come.  Her goal is, as she put it, to give people a garden that makes them feel great about where they live and a garden that they deserve.

We’ll need to raise the funds to tackle this project and we hope to install the design in one of the boxwood beds in Parcel 8 sometime in 2014.


Park Furniture.

We currently have 14 table and chair sets (14 tables, 48 chairs), 11 umbrellas and 32 benches in the North End parks.  Half of the table and chair sets and all 11 umbrellas were purchased and installed in 2013.

We are proposing two ideas for consideration:

First, replacing some of the benches with gliding swings.  These are being used increasingly in a number of urban parks including Montreal, Louisville, KY and Cincinnati, OH.  We would replace the remaining benches with new benches.

Second, we are proposing the addition of more wooden benches on boxwood bed seatwalls.

At this point in the agenda, we went to a question and answer period.  Among the many questions and comments were:

Q: When would the installations in the Pergola bed take place?

A: Between April and June, depending on bids, scheduling and weather.

Q: Is there an opportunity for volunteers to work and help with improvements?

A: Yes, we have an expanded calendar of volunteer opportunities, including some additional weekend dates and even a few late afternoon/early evening dates that we’re calling Brush Hours.  See our volunteer page for further details and to sign up.  We will offer some opportunities in the North End pergola beds.  Lynden Miller also talked about how the Central Park Conservatory (which closes at night) has a similar program with 5 staff and 25 volunteers who come on specific days to help plant, weed and care for the gardens there.)

Q: When would the work begin on other improvements, including Lynden Miller’s designs for the Boxwood beds.

A: Design is continuing, funds need to be raised to pay for the fixes and improvements.  The Greenway is actively applying for grants and seeking donors.

Q: Are the Pergola Bed proposed improvements similiar to the proposed Boxwood Beds?

A: Yes, Lynden Miller consulted with Conservancy staff on plant choices, types and varieties to ensure both consistency and beauty.

We also had an additional number of questions focusing on the effects of proposed developments impacting both the parks and the plants as well as the people by demolition of existing structures, bigger shadows being cast into the parks, requests for assistance with city water/irrigation issues for planters on the other sides of the streets across from Greenway, additional questions about the Pergola and possible shade opportunities, questions about other Lynden Miller Projects (Bryant Park in NYC), questions about the Carousel, and encouragement to attend Conservancy Board meetings.

3/18/14: Added the video that Matt Conti of NorthendWaterfront filmed and placed on YouTube: