Wharf District Council Community Workshop Breakout Recap

6, Jun, 2013 Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy

Wharf District Council Community Workshop Breakout Recap

Atlantic Wharf, 290 Congress Street 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

 This post highlights the input and feedback that we received from attendees at our Wharf District Council Community Workshop on Tuesday, June 4th, 2013.  Thanks to all those who attended and gave us their thoughts…

Download/View a copy of the presentation that we used.

Maintenance/Fountains – Bob Stigberg

The Maintenance breakout session touched on a number of different topics including the Harbor Fog sculpture, it was noted that the lights, sounds and the direct interaction with individuals did not seem to be working properly. Greenway staff noted that initial complaints of noise associated with Harbor Fog lead to lowering the volume of the feature but Greenway staff would look into the issue and contact designer Ross Miller and his lighting consultant (ALPS) to come out to work on it if necessary.

Snow removal was also mentioned in the session acknowledging that Greenway staff does a great job of snow removal in the park but there are issues with handicap ramps and certain intersections on the outboard sidewalks (outside of the property leased to the Conservancy by MassDOT) at certain intersections. The Wharf District Council asked if they could be helpful in working with the city or another agency to overcome any liability issues that would eliminate our inherent risk in working on City property to resolve this issue.

The concern of bikes in the park has been an ongoing issue and was also brought up during the breakout session. It was noted the Hubway bike program has also added to the number of bikes in the area and in the park. Greenway staff assured folks they would continue to enforce the “No Bikes” rule in the park and look into better signage in the park itself.

The law breaking behavior of some homeless vagrants has been an ongoing issue on the Greenway and was addressed at the community workshop. Greenway staff works very closely with Boston Police and other city agencies to deal with this issue and call 911 with all issues that deal with public safety in the park to have a record of all of these incidents. Those in attendance were encouraged to do the same and to share any issue or concerns of this nature with the Conservancy.

Horticulture – Stu Shillaber

Trees were a major focus of the horticulture breakout session participants had a number of questions including the impact the homeless have on trees and horticulture and the impact salt air has on the horticulture. Greenway staff noted that urban stresses are a concern in caring for the Greenway and that although the salt air is not of great concern, wind shear and vehicular traffic emissions are more of an issue. Regular horticulture samples are taken and sent to a lab at UMass Boston to help address issues that may be occurring and identify what is working well.

The horticultural barrier on the harborside walk near Harbor Fog was mentioned as being a possible security issue.  It prevents people for seeing into the space and from being able to out of view.

There were also questions about the green bags that are at the base of a number of trees and other horticulture in the park. These bags are used on newly planted or transplanted material or horticulture that may not be doing as well as hoped and are used to water and feed the horticulture with compost tea and other organic materials.

Programs – Charlie McCabe

The Greenway works with a number of outside partners to host events in the parks which allows for increasing the number of events and lowers the financial impact on the Greenway. There were a number of events that individuals in the break out session would like to see in the park including ballet, poetry readings, martial arts classes, a zoo mobile/animal education, more arts and crafts and Figment type events. Signage was also an issue that was discussed in this session, people would like to see more signage particularly on events days to highlight activity in the park. A number of individuals inquired about partnering with First Night for events on the Greenway as well as additional winter programming.

There was mention of a possible partnership with the Boston Harbor Hotel and the skating rink that they are proposing.

The Food Truck Throwdown was also discussed; specifically the concerns with trash removal and recycling and what plans would be in place for any large scale events in the future. The concept of a permanent food kiosk was also mentioned as a potential benefit to the park.

The partnership the Celebrity Series was also highlighted noting the Greenway would be hosting 7-8 pianos in the park as part of a larger event this fall.

Planning and Design – Linda Jonash

There was discussion of the need for more of a landscape buffer to traffic along the promenade in the wharf district and Greenway staff suggested seeing how the carousel project will be addressing this as the outside planter bed has been widened to accommodate more plants.

It was noted that there is an orphaned piece of land along Atlantic Ave beside the Harbor Towers north of the Pasta Beach restaurant and there is concern about who owns it and should be maintaining it. It was noted the property was not being adequately cared for.

Signage was also discussed in this break out session. Members on the wharf district noted that they wanted more effective “no bicycling” signs and more directional signage in the park.

There was a desire to bring Botanica back to the park on Parcel 18 opposite the Boston Harbor Hotel archway

There was mention of the need for an area that could be slightly protected and welcoming for families with small children.  Adding a traditional fenced in playground was not desired.  There was discussion of an option for introducing rotating or temporary sculptural elements that would be a fun amenity.