City Celebrates Grand Opening of Barnard Place Park in South Boston
On Friday, May 20, Barnard Place Park Corporation, South Boston local elected officials, and residents celebrated the Grand Opening of the Barnard Place Park in South Boston. The Barnard Place Park Corporation is a volunteer nonprofit organization in South Boston consisting of Barnard Place residents who transformed the long-vacant East Second Street by transforming the land and building a beautiful public park for the community to enjoy. The City of Boston Community Preservation Committee funded the Barnard Place Park, which was built on land sold to the Corporation through the Mayor’s Office of Housing.
“I want to thank the Barnard Place Park Corporation and residents who worked tirelessly together to build this beautiful public park for the South Boston community,” said Chief of Housing Sheila Dillon. “We are happy that the City of Boston was able to provide land and funding from the Community Preservation Act to help transform this once vacant parcel into Barnard Place Park, a beautiful oasis for all to enjoy.”
The new park is located on 603R East Second Street in South Boston and had been vacant for more than 30 years, and it has functioned as a passive open space that Barnard Place residents have maintained while also advocating for it to be officially made into a permanent green space. In April 2019, the residents established a nonprofit organization to secure the deed from the city of Boston land with the purpose of retaining it as an open green space to share with the community. The City of Boston conveyed the land to the Barnard Place Park Corporation in 2020.
The Barnard Place Park Corporation created the new Barnard Place Park a beautiful green open space with trees, shrubs, herbs, a butterfly and bee garden to feed pollinators, bistro-style seating, a memorial benches in memory of longstanding Barnard Place residents Boston Firefighter Scott Salman and Arta Fritch, and a bocce court to honor the history of bocce that was played by immigrants on this land decades ago.
“For over 30 years the residents of Barnard Place have been working to preserve this land,” said Evan Spencer, President, Barnard Place Park Corporation. “Barnard Place Park is the fruition of those efforts. The park is for the community to enjoy open green space for generations to come. We would like to thank everyone involved in this project and for the City of Boston for partnering with us to make it happen.”
The redevelopment of this vacant land into green space was made possible in part due to the conveyance of $150,000 worth of land from the Mayor’s Office of Housing’s Grassroots Program in 2020, and the $150,000 Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding. In February, Mayor Michelle Wu announced the creation of GrowBoston: Office of Urban Agriculture and the Grassroots Program is part of the new office. The new office works to increase food production throughout Boston; develop and implement innovative food production strategies; provide technical assistance to prospective and existing gardens and farms; develop food production resources for gardeners, farmers, and other residents; and coordinate with other City departments to expand citywide urban agriculture. GrowBoston also contributes to Boston’s efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change while addressing injustices inherent in the current food system, as well as the permanent preservation of community open spaces like Barnard Place Park.
The City of Boston has awarded more than $119 million to support 245 projects across the City since residents voted to adopt the Community Preservation Act in 2016. Community Preservation Act-funded projects can be found in 23 neighborhoods. Of those supported since its creation, there have been 98 open space and recreation projects, 37 affordable housing projects, and 110 historic preservation projects. This fund is capitalized primarily by a one percent property tax-based surcharge on residential and business property tax bills that began in July 2017. The City uses this revenue to fund initiatives with statewide CPA guidelines: affordable housing, historic preservation, and open space and public recreation spaces like the Barnard Place Park.
About the Mayor’s Office of Housing (MOH)
The Mayor’s Office of Housing is responsible for housing people experiencing homelessness, creating and preserving affordable housing, and ensuring that renters and homeowners can obtain, maintain, and remain in safe, stable housing. The department develops and implements the City of Boston’s housing creation and homelessness prevention plans and collaborates with local and national partners to find new solutions and build more housing affordable to all, particularly those with lower incomes. For more information, please visit the MOH website.
About the Community Preservation Act (CPA)
After Boston voters adopted the CPA in November 2016, the City created a Community Preservation Fund. This fund is capitalized primarily by a one percent property tax-based surcharge on residential and business property tax bills that began in July 2017. The City uses this revenue to fund initiatives consistent with statewide CPA guidelines: affordable housing, historic preservation, open space, and public recreation. The funding of any project requires a recommendation from the Community Preservation Committee and appropriation by the City Council. For more information, please visit the Community Preservation webpage.