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Public input sought on the Boston Common Master Plan

August 7, 2019

Parks and Recreation

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Parks and Recreation

We're collecting public input about the future of the Boston Common through an expansive public engagement process.

The Boston Parks and Recreation Department (BPRD), in partnership with the Friends of the Public Garden (the Friends), is collecting public input about the future of the Boston Common through an expansive public engagement process: on the Common, around the City, at open houses/public meetings, and via an online survey.

As America’s first public park, Boston Common is one of the most treasured greenspaces in the world. The overarching goal of the new Master Plan is to create a Common that will serve all people of Boston and visitors while protecting this special place for decades to come.

BPRD and the Friends are hosting a series of Park Presence Days on the Common and around the City. A movable kiosk - playfully dubbed the ‘Mini Common’ - will allow the public to learn more about the master planning effort, provide feedback on the park today, and share ideas for the future. The first round of public outreach will be conducted:

Saturday, August 10, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Park Presence Day @ the African Festival on Boston Common

Monday, August 19, 3 - 7 p.m.

Mini Common @ Maverick T Station in East Boston

Sunday, August 25, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Mini Common @ Open Newbury on Newbury Street in Back Bay

Friday, September 6, 4:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Park Presence Day @ Frog Pond Movie Night, Boston Common

Saturday, September 7, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Mini Common @ Chinatown Main Street Lantern Festival, Chinatown Gate at the Greenway

Friday, September 13, 3 - 7 p.m.

Mini-Common @ Mission Hill Farmer’s Market, Roxbury Crossing

Tuesday, September 17, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Park Presence Day @ Brewer Fountain, Boston Common

For more information about the survey, Mini Common events, and open houses planned for the upcoming months, please visit the Boston Common Master plan website. Residents and park users are encouraged to take the Boston Common Master Plan survey. The survey will remain active through December 31, 2019.

“Boston Common has always been a park by and for the people of our city,” said Boston Parks Commissioner Ryan Woods.  “Thanks to the $28 million Mayor Martin J. Walsh committed from the sale of the City’s Winthrop Square garage, we are now able to augment the current historic levels of funding to fully renovate America's first public park while preserving its rich heritage. We now look forward to the input of residents, business people, institutions, and park users to help shape this master plan as we map out the future of this historic meeting ground in the heart of Boston.”  

Led by Weston & Sampson, the consultant team has been studying the park and meeting with stakeholder groups since April 2019. The Boston Common Master Plan includes the development of a set of principles, goals and objectives to guide the work; an inventory of the park’s existing conditions and resources; an assessment of current and future park needs; and the public engagement process that is underway. The final plan will define a strong, clear vision that will celebrate the history of place and craft a comprehensive revitalization strategy for this legacy public open space asset.

“This outreach process is designed to make sure that the Boston Common truly lives up to its reputation as ‘the people’s park’ – accessible and welcoming to all, supporting a wide variety of uses that reflect the needs of the community  today and into the future,” said Liz Vizza, Executive Director of the Friends of the Public Garden. “We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a bold plan that ensures this iconic public green space continues to thrive and fulfills the needs of the millions of people who enjoy it every year.”

About the Boston Parks and Recreation Department

We create and maintain clean, green, safe, and accessible public park land and open space throughout Boston. Our department is responsible for 217 parks, playgrounds and athletic fields, two golf courses, 65 squares, 17 fountains, 75 game courts, 16 historic and three active cemeteries, urban wilds, four High School Athletic Fields, and approximately 125,000 trees, all covering 2,346 acres, 1,000 of which comprise the historic Emerald Necklace. We are also responsible for more than 35,000 street trees.

About the Friends of the Public Garden

The Friends of the Public Garden has worked in partnership with the City of Boston for 49 years to restore, maintain, and advocate for the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. The three properties are national treasures and they are located in the heart of our city. The Friends help care for 1700 trees, 42 pieces of public art, and more than 50 acres of lawn. In recent years, the organization has completed many capital projects on behalf of the city, including renovation and activation of the Brewer Fountain and Plaza by Park Street Station on the Common and restoration of the George Robert White Memorial fountain in the Garden.