New Master Plan Begins for Boston Common

Press Release

Mayor Martin J. Walsh has committed $28 million (of which $23 million is capital funding, and $5 million maintenance funding) from the sale of the City’s Winthrop Square garage to augment the current historic levels of investment in Boston Common to fully renovate “America’s First Park.” A major tourist destination, cultural beacon, and neighborhood park, Boston Common is one of the most treasured green spaces in the world. This investment will ensure future generations will enjoy the park in its full vibrancy.

In preparation for these investments, the Boston Parks and Recreation Department is launching a Master Plan for Boston Common in collaboration with the Friends of the Public Garden. The Master Plan will provide a vision for the Common, building on existing public and private investment and inform the priorities for expenditures from both the Winthrop Square funds and future City of Boston Capital Plans.  The funds will support capital investments as well as investments in the maintenance and activities of the park.

“The sale of the Winthrop Square property has given us an unprecedented opportunity to make substantial improvements to our most famous park, the historic Boston Common,” Mayor Walsh noted. “In order to maximize our investment, the Master Plan the Boston Parks and Recreation Department is creating will guide all aspects of preservation, maintenance, and public use of the park as we move into the future.”

In 15 years, the nation’s first park will celebrate its 400th anniversary. This investment will build on a series of improvements at Tremont Street, Boylston Street, and various pathways within the park as well as annual investments made by the Friends for care of the park and sculpture. Revitalization will consider the extraordinary level of use the Common attracts and ensure investment that preserves and celebrates this green center of downtown.

“As an essential partner of the City, the Friends of the Public Garden is very excited to participate in this once-in-a-generation opportunity to work collaboratively with the public to create a bold plan to bring the nation’s first public park up to the highest standards for the millions of people who enjoy it every year,” said Elizabeth Vizza, Executive Director of the Friends of The Public Garden.

Boston’s Weston & Sampson design studio will lead the master planning efforts for the Common. Their award-winning preservation work with the Friends of the Public Garden and thoughtful restorations throughout the Common to date give them unique insight into these beloved parks. Weston & Sampson strategically develops sustainable design strategies and carefully selects materials to support their park/recreation improvement and historical/environmental restoration efforts. `The firm’s successful master planning work at signature parks throughout the region is a testament to their enthusiasm for and commitment to a robust and engaging public process.

As an integral part of an interdisciplinary firm, Weston & Sampson’s landscape architects will work closely with their civil, structural, and infrastructure engineers, environmental site professionals, and storm water experts. With their collaborative teaming approach, Weston & Sampson will deliver creative, innovative, and technically sound plans that can withstand heavy use, New England weather, and the test of time – a vital goal for this landmark park with its complex infrastructure over garages, tunnels, and supply lines.