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May’s Frontline Park

Each month, City Parks Alliance recognizes a “Frontline Park” to promote and highlight inspiring examples of urban park excellence, innovation, and stewardship across the country. The program also seeks to highlight examples of the challenges facing our cities’ parks as a result of shrinking municipal budgets, land use pressures, and urban neighborhood decay.

Boston, MA

Image Courtesy of Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy

Image Courtesy of Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy

The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway is a 15 acre, 1.5 mile long stretch of parks in the heart of Boston created as part of the mitigation plan for the massive public works project known as the “Big Dig.”  Developed and constructed by the State of Massachusetts, the project reworked both road and public transit systems in downtown Boston, adding bridges, two tunnel systems, multiple interchanges, and restoring a city street network.  The state worked with local neighborhoods to develop and implement plans for the 15 acres of parks, which are grouped by the neighborhoods they are adjacent to – North End Parks, Wharf District Parks, Fort Point Channel Parks, Dewey Square Park and Chinatown Park each has their own character and features.

Image Courtesy of Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy

Image Courtesy of Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy

Operation, programming, and maintenance for the Greenway are handled by the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, a model example of the type of public-private partnership emerging in cities across the United States.  Funding sources include private donations, grants, and earned income, as well as public funding for maintenance and operation.  The Greenway faces some unique maintenance challenges due to the fact that it is essentially a very long, large roof garden covering an interstate, which means that it has minimal soil depth.  Despite this challenge, the Greenway is one of the few organically maintained urban parks in the United States.  Some site furnishings in the park were manufactured by DuMor, Inc.

The Greenway has quickly become a hub for activity in Boston, hosting more than 350 events in 2012 alone, in addition to regular attractions like the Mobile Food program (food trucks and trikes), a seasonal carousel, and interactive water features that attract millions of visitors each year.

For more information on the Rose Kennedy Greenway, please visit:

Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy

MassDOT

City of Boston Parks & Recreation Department

The “Frontline Parks” program is made possible with generous support from DuMor, Inc. and PlayCore.

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