Mayor Michelle Wu and Boston Parks Commissioner Ryan Woods joined residents on August 5 for the official reopening of Mission Hill Playground at 60 Smith Street. The playground renovation features a full basketball court so the nearby schools, Tobin Community Center, and the greater community can engage in healthy active recreation for kids of all ages.
“I’m thrilled to be celebrating the reopening of Mission Hill playground in community,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “Having safe and accessible outdoor spaces where children, families and residents can gather and have fun is important in building an inclusive city.”
“Our community outreach process allows us to tailor our park and playground revitalization projects to the needs of each neighborhood,” noted Boston Parks Commissioner Ryan Woods. “The Parks team worked with the Tobin K-8 School, the Mission Grammar School, the Tobin Community Center, and residents of all ages to understand priorities for the playground. The results include features that make the park a more welcoming communal gathering place, students and neighborhood kids have a new full basketball court, and the playground is more accessible thanks to pedestrian pathway improvements.”
The community’s priorities included expanding opportunities for social gatherings and performances, while maintaining artistic elements from the prior renovation. There was a robust community discussion evaluating the need for full-court basketball, which was supported by various members of the neighborhood, and was eventually included in the project. The water spray area now has in-ground features, allowing the space to serve both purposes, framed by the art elements, against the backdrop of Boston’s skyline.
“Planning during the pandemic required us, as community members, to get creative about getting everyone’s opinion about the park,” said Mary Ann Nelson, Director of the Mission Hill Health Movement, who worked with the project team to help get the word out about the improvements. “We spoke with a lot of park users on site, from neighborhood families to the resident domino players. The playground just reopened, and already everyone is visiting to use the new play equipment, to eat lunch, or just sit under a tree.”
The scope includes all new play equipment and safety surfaces, irrigation and renovation of the ball field, drinking fountains, bench seating and picnic tables, trees, renovation of the large retaining wall, and additional lighting. The highly-used pedestrian path connecting Smith and Tremont Street is now entirely ADA compliant.
“The Commonwealth’s Division of Conservation Services is very pleased to play a role—working in partnership with City officials and the local community—in renovating Mission Hill Playground,” said Robert Wilber, Director of Conservation Services for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs. “This beautiful, refurbished site will provide significant health benefits to so many in the years ahead.”
The total budget of $3,255,000 was provided by the Mayor’s Capital Improvement Plan including a $400,000 grant from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) Program.
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