Back to top

After $950,000 investment, 'The Yard' opens at BCYF Tobin community center

November 1, 2017

This renovation provides the community with new open space for programming, special events and more.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh yesterday joined members of Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF), the City of Boston's Public Facilities Department, elected officials and community members of all ages to celebrate the opening of "The Yard" at BCYF Tobin Community Center in Mission Hill. This $950,000 renovation provides the community with new open space for programming, special events and more.

"The Ida B. Graves Memorial Yard is a great example of how we are enhancing our community centers to meet the changing needs and populations of our neighborhoods," said Mayor Walsh. "For 70 years this community center has been the heart of the neighborhood and this beautiful space opens up many new opportunities for Mission Hill residents."

Dedication of the Ida B. Graves Memorial Yard

At the event, Mayor Walsh announced that The Yard will be formally known as The Ida B. Graves Memorial Yard in honor of the late Mission Hill community activist, Ida Graves, who spent many years volunteering her time at the community center and working on behalf of her beloved neighborhood.

The renovation includes a new elevated concrete stage and covered pavilion, a porous concrete paver patio, a synthetic turf lawn with ambient festoon lighting, café seating and dining area, and a shady outdoor classroom. These amenities complement wide ranging and diverse programs offered to the community at BCYF Tobin Community Center, such as the after school program, large summer day program, dance classes, numerous sports leagues, yoga and special events. The Yard also incorporates an adjoining, previously renovated community garden with plots available for community use. BCYF Tobin Community Center is open six days a week, Monday through Friday6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

"We are grateful to all the community members, elected officials and volunteers from Wentworth College who attended community meetings and supported this project in various ways," said William Morales, Commissioner of Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF.) "Thanks to Mayor Walsh, this space has been transformed into something the community will enjoy for years to come."

Under the leadership of Mayor Walsh, the renovation project is a collaboration between Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) and the City of Boston's Public Facilities Department. Warner Larson Landscape Architects collaborated closely with NELM Corp, the general contractor, on this project.

This project is part of Mayor Walsh's $2.09 billion FY18-22 Capital Plan that makes critical investments in the City's infrastructure in every Boston neighborhood, guided by Imagine Boston 2030 and the schools, streets, arts, climate and resilience plans under its umbrella.

"I'm amazed at the transformation of this space," said John Jackson, Mission Hill native and Administrative Coordinator of BCYF Tobin Community Center, who spearheaded the effort to create The Yard. "I am looking forward to adding programming to BCYF Tobin that will incorporate this new outdoor space. The community will truly enjoy the finished product."

The vision for "The Yard" is for a youthful, energetic space that reflects the energy and spirit of the surrounding community just as the community center is the home of the Mission Hill community. The Yard will be a place for active and passive recreation. The flexible spaces and site amenities at The Yard are accessible to the diverse group of users and programs.

"As an advocate for Boston's older residents and longtime Mission Hill resident, I am excited about having access to a new outdoor space that is very senior friendly," said Carmen Pola, Mission Hill Senior Legacy Project and longtime community activist.

About Boston Centers for Youth & Families

Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) is the City of Boston's largest youth and human service agency. BCYF operates 36 community centers in Boston that offer a variety of engaging and enriching programs for people of all ages created through community input and need. BCYF also oversees many citywide programs including the nationally-recognized violence intervention and prevention Streetworker Program and SuccessLink, Mayor's Summer Jobs Program.

The BCYF Tobin Community Center in Mission Hill ties into Imagine Boston 2030, Boston's citywide plan, as an element that contributes to an enhanced neighborhood, a stated goal of the plan. Through this investment and activation in Mission Hill, the City of Boston is helping provide 21st century facilities for residents. For more information on Imagine Boston 2030, please visit

news and announcements