Design Team Says Dog Park Proposed for Charlesgate Park Would Be Biggest in City

A 22,000 square-foot dog park proposed for Charlesgate Park promises to be the biggest facility of its kind citywide, according to Marie Law Adams, a founding principal of the Landing Studio, a Somerville-based architectural firm.

Adams again detailed plans to build the dog park, which were first unveiled last September, as part of a larger to reclaim the “key link” that connects the Kenmore, Back Bay and Fenway neighborhoods and unite the Charles River Esplanade, the Emerald Necklace and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall into a single-park system during a virtual meeting Tuesday night. The project is a collaboration between the Charlesgate Alliance – a nonprofit launched three years ago with the mission of advocating for the area and abutting neighborhoods – and the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, a Boston-based nonprofit dedicated to the maintenance and preservation of park designed by venerable landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmsted, including Charlesgate Park, which was razed in the mid-1960s during construction of the overhead Philip G. Bowker Overpass.

The proposed dog park would be located on the South Field between Commonwealth Avenue and the Massachusetts Turnpike, and a large, curved stone-wall at the rear of the site would be “dismantled” to recover one-third of an acre of open space. In its place, a “new sound attenuation” would be constructed to provide a noise buffer, Adams said.

The dog park would be divided into two play areas to accommodate “more and less social dogs” and so that different types of activities can occur simultaneously, Adams said.

Pea stone – rounded, small gravel – and rice stone – a similar material with “a slightly elongated shape” – are the preferred elements for the dog park’s surfacing while a 10-foot-wide central pathway made of asphalt would be constructed for maintenance on the Bowker Overpass, Adams said.

A 4-foot steel picket fence as seen in other parks maintained by the Department of Conservation and Recreation and proposed for the intended play area on Charlesgate Park’s North Field would enclose the dog park, Adams said, and a double-entry or “corral-style” entry would be installed to prevent dogs from escaping when others enter the dog park.

Other proposed features include benches along the pathway; drinking fountains for people and pets in both sections of the dog park; and lighting near the pathway to make the area safer.

The project is currently in the “design development phase,” which is expected to wrap up at the end of the year contingent on review and approval by DCR and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), simultaneously.

Permitting is then expected to take between 15 and 17 months after the deign documents are submitted, and the Emerald Necklace Conservancy is now trying to raise both public and private funds for construction of the dog park, according to members of the design team.

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