The Boston Common Master Plan is an aspirational yet pragmatic framework for exciting and substantive change at this historic and culturally significant public place – the “People’s Park” that belongs to all.
Outreach and engagement with the people who use, enjoy, and work in the Common grounded the Master Plan. Each recommendation builds on what already makes this center stage of civic life successful and will pave the way toward a sustainable future for Boston Common. Recommendations for improvements to the built environment span a wide spectrum from small tweaks to significant proposals, driven by the Common’s historic roots, its important role in the city today, and the needs of a resilient park for generations to come.
Recommendations for the built environment are organized into four distinct actionable themes: deploying Common-wide strategies; restoring and clarifying park edges and entrances; connecting and upgrading core visitor amenities; and enhancing and diversifying active recreation opportunities. As projects are implemented, designs will be refined and fine-tuned with active input from the public and other stakeholders.
The Boston Common Master Plan is a call to action. By continuing to anticipate and support the needs of this park and its users, the Common can set a precedent for what it means to reinvest in and celebrate our nation’s most treasured public places.
Funding and Implementation Phasing
The cost estimate for all of the plan’s recommendations is $156M. There is funding for initial phases of implementation from the $23M that came from Winthrop Square to the Common. Another $5M has been put into the Boston Common Maintenance Trust Fund, to support ongoing maintenance needs.
The following plan for implementation is based on a number of factors:
- Multiple Master Plan goals met
- High level of community support
- Located in a heavily used and highly visible area
- Need for improvement
- Ability to leverage partners to support
Early Action Projects (currently underway)
Shaw 54th Memorial Accessibility
Tadpole Playground renovation
Early Action Pilot Project (piloted in 2023)
Boylston-Tremont entrance seasonal beer garden activation
High Priority Projects
Mid-block Charles Street entrance and Mayor’s Walk
Bathroom Building, mid-block Charles Street entrance
Various pathway improvements
High Priority Projects (need funding partners)
Frog Pond and Pavilion
VIC refurbishment and expansion (interior and parkside plaza)
Medium Priority Projects
Wayfinding sign system
Concessions plaza near Parkman Bandstand
Long-Range Priority Projects
Dog recreation area
Park Street entrance and plaza
Boylston-Charles Street entrance
Beacon-Charles Street entrance
Boylston-Tremont Street plaza
Park perimeter upgrades, tree planting and landscape/lawn restoration, bench installations, and infrastructure upgrades