Reclaiming the Lost Parkland at Charlesgate

Last night, 200 people braved the snow forecast and attended the Friends Members Reception. Board chair Leslie Adam and Executive Director Liz Vizza welcomed the crowd and thanked them for their support for our beautiful and greenspaces. Liz outlined the year’s highlights in parks work, including the major effort to restore the Shaw 54th Memorial in 2019 in partnership with the National Park Service and the City of Boston, using it as a platform for dialogue with our public partners as well as programming partner the Museum of African American History.

The presentation by Marie Law Adams and Dan Adams, founders of Landing Studio, was both fascinating and inspirational. They shared their vision for Charlesgate Park and the community-led plan, working for the Charlesgate Alliance, to revitalize this long-neglected area. They conveyed their excitement at the opportunity to restore a park originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in the 1880’s. The slides showed how their plan would reclaim the lost landscape of Charlesgate at the intersection of three historic park spaces — the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, the Fens, and the Esplanade. Their innovative design will create new multi-modal connections to restore the linkage and reclaim neglected land for public use. Since their work is focused on the design of industrial and infrastructural systems in cities through shared-use landscapes, they described a complex plan involving the intersection of city and state agencies, horticulture, hardscape, and the junction of two slow-moving bodies of water. Marie and Dan described their concern about protecting the watershed ecology of the associated rivers and the importance of creating a riparian edge for filtering run-off and providing a safe habitat for all animal life. A lively question and answer period followed, and members then enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and animated conversation with Marie, Dan and other Friends.