Back Bay Fens Pathways Project Moving Ahead As Planned

The city’s Back Bay Fens pathways project is moving ahead as planned, according to Lauren Bryant, project manager for the Boston Parks Department.

​Kyle Zick, the landscape architect for the project, has been busy evaluating the grading and conditions of the pathways, Bryant wrote in a Sept. 27 email.

Moreover, since the city held its last virtual public-meetings on the project in March, the “conceptual grading of the entirety of the Boston Parks-owned property within Back Bay Fens” and a conceptual design for the John Boyle O’Reilly Memorial, which was informed by a meeting with the Fenway Civic Association, are now being finetuned, wrote Bryant.

​Likewise, conceptual designs of the pathways surrounding and intersecting the Fenway Victory Gardens informed by input from the president of the Fenway Garden Society, as well as for the World War II Memorial informed by multiple meetings and site visits with the city’s George Robert White Fund Trust, who own that property, are now being finalized. The conceptual design for the Evans Way Bridge replacement is nearing completion as well, added Bryant.

​The project team has also met and communicated with the Emerald Necklace Conservancy “regarding coordination with other surrounding projects in the area,” wrote Bryant, and is also coordinating with the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation on pathways owned by that state agency.

​“We are working to finalize the conceptual design plans in order to bring them back to the community for feedback and input,” Bryant wrote. “We are hoping to have that meeting in early to mid-November.”

​The Parks Department controls most of the land and pathways within the project site, with the exception of the War Memorial and its pathways, which are under the jurisdiction of the Boston Trust Office (i.e. the White Fund); and the land around the perimeter of the park and on the edges of Agassiz Road, which is under the jurisdiction of the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation.

​The project was originally intended to focus on just the pathways themselves and had an estimated cost of around $6.3 million, but that sum is expected to rise, since the scope was later expanded to include three additional items: the War Memorial; the O’Reilly Memorial; and the new Evans Way Bridge.

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