Parks Dept. Awarded $400,000 State Grant for O’Day Playground

Mayor Michelle Wu announced that the Boston Parks and Recreation Department has been awarded a $400,000 grant by the MA Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to help fund the reconstruction of O’Day Playground located at 75 West Newton Street in the South End. The grant from the state Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) program will augment funding from the City of Boston Capital Improvement Program.

With an estimated overall budget of $2.63 million, the renovation process will begin this fall with Parks Department’s community meeting outreach process, allowing park users and abutters to provide their own feedback during the design phase. The bidding process is slated for early 2023 with the bid award and construction planned for mid-summer, and the official park opening in late May of 2024.

The project will renovate the basketball and multi-use court, an inclusive children’s play area with poured-in-place safety surfacing, water play area, and exercise equipment, benches, and game tables. The project also provides a shade pavilion, new trees, and other plantings.

The current City Open Space and Recreation Plan 2015-2021 shows the area to be in high need of parks and recreation facilities. The proposed redesign and reconstruction will enhance the site and provide neighborhood users with close-to-home recreation opportunities. 

A renewed and inclusive children’s play area will provide a needed outlet for play and social enrichment for all children with a variety of activities, including a water spray feature. The teen and adult exercise equipment will encourage healthy movement for park neighbors. The playground will also provide a renewed and inclusive basketball court along with bicycle racks.

Plantings and a shade pavilion will buffer the area from extreme heat and afford users respite from the sun, as well as increase the tree canopy in this densely populated area. The passive recreation space’s trees, benches, and tables will provide all ages, especially seniors, with a way to relax and socialize within a well-shaded location to help diminish the urban heat island effect. 

“Our designers and planners work to meet the challenges of increased population and a warming climate,” noted Boston Parks Commissioner Ryan Woods. “Additional trees and a shade shelter will ensure the park continues to be enjoyed by our residents, especially during events like our very popular Tito Puente summer concert series. Enhancing the canopy means more shade, cooler temperatures, and positive use of the park.”

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