Special to the Regional Review
The Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy celebrated the opening of North Meadow on The Greenway, the newest park space in Boston’s contemporary public park formerly known as Parcel 2, in a public Ribbon Cutting ceremony.
The Ribbon Cutting included a short speaking program featuring Conservancy and Greenway Business Improvement District (BID) leadership, Commonwealth of Massachusetts Transportation Secretary and CEO Jamey Tesler, and elected officials representing The Greenway including State Representative Aaron Michlewitz, State Senator Lydia Edwards, City Council President Ed Flynn, City Councilor Gabriela Coletta, and City Councilor Kenzie Bok.
“The creation of new open space is always an important step to promote climate and connectivity goals, especially in an urban context,” said Greenway Conservancy Executive Director Chris Cook. “The critical nature of this work is especially evident here, though, when we think about the history and impact that the elevated highway had on Boston’s people and neighborhoods from Chinatown to the West End.”
Located where Boston’s West End, Bulﬁnch Triangle, and North End meet and bordered by North Washington Street, Anthony “Rip” Valenti Way, and Beverly Street, North Meadow on The Greenway is a site of constant reinvention. Originally open water within the Charles River estuary, this location was dammed to become Mill Pond and then filled in as a part of the Bulﬁnch Triangle development in the 19th century. In the 20th century, this site was overshadowed by the elevated highway Interstate 93. As part of the “Big Dig”, the highway was submerged, allowing the Rose Kennedy Greenway, the contemporary public park in the heart of Boston, to be built.
“There were so many moments where we all individually thought that this tiny little park might not happen. Over the years, the BPDA has remained dedicated to the realization of this green space, and we are thrilled it will stand forever as a credit to the many people who were involved, at different stages, and across different scales,” said BPDA Director of Planning Lauren Shurtleff.
“We would not be here if it were not for the persistent and dedicated collaboration between the public sector, private sector, and the community.”
As the northern terminus of the park, North Meadow is both a gateway to The Greenway and a pocket of open space for residents and visitors to the surrounding neighborhoods in the West End and North End. Reﬂecting a commitment to making thoughtful enhancements along the entirety of The Greenway, Greenway BID members provided and leveraged enhancement funds to make this project and placemaking improvement possible.
Transportation Secretary and CEO Jamey Tesler spoke at the event, “The Greenway is one of Boston’s most beautiful and relaxing destinations and it has been a pleasure to see this property transformed in order to expand the green space even further toward North Station. This new park is just the latest example of how collaborations and partnerships have resulted in a project going from idea, to design, to construction, to a successful outcome.”
In planning and design, the community prioritized maximizing nature, creating a place of serenity, and showcasing the site’s history. Serving as a tribute to the Charles River’s estuarine ecology, the park’s native meadow plantings and unique boardwalk create a sense of enclosure and tranquility. North Meadow on The Greenway is a neighborhood park, inviting you to relax and unwind with the backdrop of downtown Boston.
“Enhancing The Greenway through placemaking projects like the North Meadow on The Greenway is an essential part of the Greenway BID’s mission to make the entire park more exciting and inviting for all,” said A Better City President and CEO, and Executive Director of the Greenway BID Rick Dimino. “Thanks to the teamwork of the Greenway BID, Greenway Conservancy, the BPDA, and MassDOT, the City of Boston and its people have a new park space in which they can gather, explore our shared history, and unwind.”
North Meadow on The Greenway is a collaboration with the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA), the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), the Greenway BID, and the Greenway Conservancy. The BPDA facilitated a majority of funding for North Meadow on The Greenway through mitigation agreements from a variety of development projects in downtown Boston. The remainder of the project’s budget was contributed by MassDOT, the Greenway BID, and the Greenway Conservancy.
The Greenway is the contemporary public park in the heart of Boston. The Greenway welcomes millions of visitors annually to gather, play, unwind, and explore. The Greenway Conservancy is the non-proﬁt responsible for the management and care of The Greenway. The majority of the public park’s annual budget is generously provided by private sources.
About the Boston Planning & Development Agency
As the City of Boston’s urban planning and economic development agency, the BPDA works in partnership with the community to plan Boston’s future while respecting its past. The agency’s passionate and knowledgeable staff guides physical, social, and economic change in Boston’s neighborhoods and its downtown to shape a more prosperous, resilient, and vibrant city for all. The BPDA also prepares residents for new opportunities through employment training, human services and job creation. Learn more at bostonplans.org, and follow us on Twitter @BostonPlans.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) consists of four divisions: Rail and Transit, Registry of Motor Vehicles, Aeronautics and Highway. MassDOT”s mission is to deliver excellent customer service to people traveling in the Commonwealth by providing transportation infrastructure which is safe, reliable, robust and resilient. MassDOT works to provide a transportation system which can strengthen the state’s economy and improve the quality of life for all.
The Greenway BID is designed to contribute $1.5 million each year to support the maintenance, horticulture costs, and future enhancements of The Greenway. Properties that meet certain criteria within the BID boundaries pay a special assessment as part of their property taxes to support improvements that beneﬁt property owners and the public alike. BID members also have opportunities to vote on enhancements, supplemental support along the entirety of The Greenway to create a more engaging and activated public realm. The Greenway BID plays an essential role in supporting an appealing, accessible, and vibrant experience in the BID district for all that visit The Greenway to gather, relax, unwind, and explore.