City celebrates opening of newly renovated tot lot in East Boston
September 11, 2017
Mayor Martin J. Walsh today joined Boston Parks Department Commissioner Christopher Cook and members of the community in celebrating the reopening of the newly renovated 'tot lot' at Cuneo Park in East Boston, following a $337,000 investment in renovations to add new play structures, improve safety surfacing and general maintenance.
"Cuneo Park is a neighborhood treasure for the people of East Boston," said Mayor Walsh. "I am excited to see that these renovations match the community's desire to celebrate the park's past of being a fire station, and I hope Boston's young ones enjoy this new play space."
Renovations to the park were funded through the City's FY17 Capital Plan. The Parks Department's project budget was supplemented with $30,000 from the Youth Lead the Change program, which funded a dish swing with safety, an inclusive element to ensure the playground is welcoming to kids of all abilities. The Youth Lead the Change program is the City's participatory budgeting process where young Bostonians decide annually how to spend $1 million from the City's Capital Plan.
"As a family with two young kids and no yard, we are delighted with the revitalization of Cuneo Park," said Kelli Cleary, a Boston resident whose family uses the park. "It's been full almost every day since it's opened and we have made new friends in our community by playing there. The design is engaging and promotes creative, active play, and the decision to keep half of the park as green space provides our children a vital link to nature."
Improvements include new play equipment with a fire truck, fire station, dish swing and ground level play elements on new rubber safety surfacing. Existing seat walls were reconfigured to open the site up and visually expand the play area. New picnic tables and a drinking and bottle filling fountain were added around the refurbished brick plaza. Extensive improvements were done to the border vegetation with replacement of an overgrown hedge with all new shrubs and lower border plants.
The tot lot sits on the former site of the Boston Fire Department's Engine 11 and Ladder 21 fire station, and keeps with the community's desires to maintain a fire truck theme. As part of the theme, new signs will be mounted on the fence depicting historical photos of the former fire station.
"The Park is a special place for the community," said Joanne Pomodoro, lifelong resident of Bennington Street in East Boston. "Knowing the Cuneo family and knowing the history of how we were family oriented growing up. The park looks amazing, the changes made, the updates to the park make it a nice place for kids, families to enjoy time together. Also, to be steps away and easy accessible makes it a perfect neighborhood place. Thanks to our elected officials for answering a.need. It will be nice to hold our next Easter Egg hunt there again."
"Mayor Walsh's commitment to the creating, preserving and enhancing green space throughout the city but specifically in east boston has been refreshing," said Joseph Ruggerio Sr., an East Boston resident. "For years we relied on massport to deliver us first class open space and it's tremendous that the city has followed suit with such remarkable investment. This once forgotten park will now be a great area for youngsters and their families to enjoy!"
To date, the Walsh Administration has increased the Parks Department's operating funding by $4.1 million or 23 percent, and dedicated over $240 million in capital funds to Boston's parks. For more information on Mayor Walsh's budget investments, please visit budget.boston.gov.