On Thursday, December 2, in conjunction with the annual tree lighting on Boston Common and the tree lighting along Commonwealth Avenue Mall, the Emerald Necklace Conservancy will bring light to Charlesgate Park by illuminating ten trees in green at the western end of the Mall. Boston Mayor Michelle Wu will lead the lighting of the Commonwealth Avenue Mall and Charlesgate Park at approximately 8:00PM on December 2, immediately following the Boston Common lighting, and trees will remain lit each evening through March 2022.
The Commonwealth Avenue Mall has been lit every holiday season for over 20 years while the trees in neighboring Charlesgate Park have never been illuminated before. Separate from the annual lighting facilitated by The Committee to Light the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, the trees to be lit in the Charlesgate area will be adorned with emerald green lights to distinguish Charlesgate as the connecting point between the Commonwealth Avenue Mall and the rest of the Emerald Necklace, and to raise awareness of the ongoing efforts to restore Charlesgate Park.
The Charlesgate Revitalization Project is led by the Conservancy and Charlesgate Alliance to restore and revitalize Charlesgate Park, a 13-acre area of parkland at the intersection of Boston’s Back Bay, Fenway and Kenmore Square neighborhoods. Designed by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted as a critical link to connect the Emerald Necklace, the Commonwealth Avenue Mall and the Charles River Esplanade, the park has been compromised by decades of urban development that prioritized road construction over greenspace, covering it with a highway overpass, dividing it with new roads and on-ramps and turning its central waterway, the Muddy River, into an armored and polluted environment.
The Conservancy’s proposed design for Charlesgate Park will rebuild and expand a people-friendly and regional pathway network, restoring connections between the Emerald Necklace, Charles River Esplanade and Commonwealth Mall for the first time in more than five decades. When complete, this restored system will allow direct walking and cycling connections between locations as distant as Boston’s North Station, Charlestown, Dorchester, Cambridge and Watertown. More information can be found at www.emeraldnecklace.org/charlesgate.
In addition to the Charlesgate tree lighting, the Conservancy will illuminate other areas of the Emerald Necklace in February-March 2022 as the second-annual iteration of its Lights in the Necklace installation. More details to come.