By Seth Daniel
The Landwave looks like it might finally be headed out to sea, and neighborhood organizers report being very encouraged by initial meetings with the Boston Parks Department regarding a first-step meeting to set priorities for the renovation of Peters Park.
The Friends of Peters Park, Old Dover Neighborhood Association and the City’s Parks Department have had “very encouraging” initial meetings on the proposed renovations to Peters Park, renovations that come via a $270,000 mitigation payment from two developers, including GreyBar Block and the AC Hotel @Ink Block.
“It is one of the most used and loved parks in Boston and because of that, it needs some renovations,” said Old Dover President Ken Smith. “The Friends of Peters Park and Old Dover had a meeting last Friday (Oct. 14) at 1010 Mass Ave (Parks Department). It was a very, very productive and elaborate meeting.”
Laurie Matthews, president of the Friends, and Smith reported that they engaged in an initial meeting with the Parks Department on Friday, Oct. 14, to discuss priorities for the reconstruction of Peters Park, which is on a separate track and a separate funding mechanism than the Dog Run already under construction.
“We were really pretty happy about the City’s response to this,” said Matthews during the Old Dover Neighborhood Association meeting in October. “It was an exciting work in progress meeting…We’re really fortunate to have had the Parks Department respond to the Friends. It’s a $200,000 and a $70,000 pot of money that we have. We’ve gotten together possible priorities we presented to Commissioner Chris Cook…As much as $270,000 is, he said it’s not going to go very gar when you look at what needs to be done. He said the City could set forth addition funds for parts of the the park.
“The Parks Department was supportive overall and it sounds as if they seem to want to augment the project with City funds to add to the $270,000 in order to get the priorities done.”
One major priority that falls outside of that budget is removing the curious, but increasingly dangerous, Landwave feature in front of the ball fields along Washington Street.
The Landwave was a Browne Fund public arts project and Smith said a letter has already gone out to the Fund to officially request that the art structure come down. That, he indicated, was just a matter of procedure and would not impede the decision to remove the Landwave.
“The Landwave will be removed,” said Smith. “Most importantly, it became a safety issue because children would climb on it and fall…It’s going to come down and that was a concern the City was receptive to…We can hope for that to happen in the spring.”
Some indicated the Landwave was put in that area specifically to prevent cars from driving up into the park and parking next to the baseball fields, which at one point was a major problem in the South End. Now, however, it isn’t so much of a problem, and the actual art structure has become more of a problem.
Also outside the sphere of the budget and the Parks process will be the painting of a new mural – a process which has now been taken over by the Boston Arts Commission, Smith said.
What’s inside the budget is still up in the air, but Matthew and Friends member Linda Houston said they have narrowed it down to improving the pathways in the park. That comes due to the fact that there is a persistent problem with service trucks and garbage trucks driving on the narrow paths and creating large ruts and divots in the park – sometimes even driving off the paths and creating more problems.
“We talked about widening of the paths with a curbing that would keep the trucks within a boundary,” Matthews said. “We talked about adding irrigation to just north of the dog park so ti wouldn’t be so dry. We talked about adding architecturally ornate bollards to keep truck from coming on…”
There was also talk of more garbage barrels and more trash pickups.
More information is expected in the coming weeks about the scope of the project and the level of commitment by the Parks Department.
Old Dover is expected to discuss new developments at its meeting this Tuesday, Nov. 15.