Shawmut Avenue Developers Pledge to Fund New Park

The Davis Companies has agreed this week to fund a new park in the New York Streets area on what is now vacant land on Shawmut Avenue, and also to cede some of its land to make a wider public walkway abutting The Lucas building.

The developer also committed to making donations to Peters Park, South End Baseball and Washington Gateway Main Street.

The biggest news in the proposal from Davis was the funding of design and engineering costs for the proposed park on Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) land at 142 Shawmut Ave.

“In addition to creating a 24-hour, well-lit wider walking path between Shawmut Avenue and Washington Street, and public open space on the site, we have agreed to support two off-site neighborhood parks,” said Spokeswoman Pam McDermott. “The Davis Companies will underwrite the full design and engineering costs for the 142 Shawmut Avenue park, as well as provide a donation to Peter’s Park in the South End.”

The park on BPDA land has been at issue since earlier this year, and at a City meeting in Castle Square earlier this year, the community overwhelmingly called for the land to be developed as a park and public walkway.

The lot was used for staging by The Lucas during its construction, and since then it’s been vacant. Residents of the newly minted New York Streets neighborhood have been clamoring for an open space of their own for more than a year. As the block has become more and more developed, a public park has become a top priority before the area is completely built out.

The idea of Davis funding the park has been discussed in meetings recently, but no commitments have come until now.

The BPDA would still have to approve putting the land out for public park purposes, though project managers seemed to be amenable to open space during the City meeting earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Davis Companies also announced made a major concession on what has been a huge sticking point in the community review – that being the public walkway between The Lucas and the proposed development by the Boston Chinese Evangelical Church (BCEC).

The walkway has been termed by the community as too narrow and dangerous.

Davis Companies announced this week they would cede four feet of their development at 112 Shawmut Ave. to the BCEC development. That allows the BCEC project to move four feet to the north and make the path wider between it and The Lucas.

McDermott said it will help allow the BCEC to complete its mission and to allow the development to go through.

“This project will create much-needed affordable housing and provide the Boston Chinese Evangelical Church with financial support to better serve the community with new religious spaces, ESL educational classrooms and additional room to provide critical social services and recreation,” she said.
Meanwhile, Davis Companies also announced it would donate $10,000 to South End Baseball, and $5,000 to Washington Gateway Main Street.

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