Yesterday’s neighborhood coffee hour at Fallon Field gave us a great chance to acknowledge the city’s response to our advocacy and to think about what we still have left to do.
Playground Renovations at Fallon and Healy
Progress continues on the playground renovation at Fallon Field, with some possible modifications to the design under consideration. The results of the geological survey have revealed that the elevation change from the top of the embankment to the bottom is larger than expected. To us, this is welcome news, as we had previously suggested that the proposed four foot embankment would limit opportunities for challenging play features. We are expecting a fourth public meeting, likely at the end of June, to discuss modifications to the design made in response to both community feedback and the results of the survey.
The renovation process for the playground at Healy Field is still expected to begin during the upcoming fiscal year. We have learned that Cathy Baker-Eclipse, who has been so responsive and helpful during the Fallon Field redesign process, is expected to be the project manager for the Healy Field redesign as well. We look forward to continuing our work with Cathy.
Potential Playground Locations Along Hyde Park Avenue
Earlier this spring, at Commissioner Cook’s suggestion, he joined us in Roslindale for a site walk during which we discussed the potential for adding play spaces. He suggested a few locations along Hyde Park Avenue that may be suitable for play space development.
Pagel Playground is an existing park located on Hyde Park Avenue that is primarily used for its artificial turf athletic field. There is a large open area of this park with plenty of room available for the addition of a play space. While this park is somewhat separated from nearby housing by train tracks to the west and Hyde Park Avenue to the east, it is located in a densely populated part of the neighborhood. There is a traffic light with a walk signal at Hyde Park Avenue and Southbourne Street which helps to provide pedestrian access to the park for the Bourne neighborhood.
Department of Neighborhood Development Lots
The Department of Neighborhood Development owns two vacant parcels along Hyde Park Avenue that may be possible sites for play space developments. These lots are located at the cross streets of Mount Hope Street and Hadwin Way. While there are not yet firm plans for the development of these lots, we have spoken with both the Parks Department and DND, and both parties have expressed interest in exploring the possibility of transferring at least one of the lots to the Parks Department.
Roslindale’s Play Desert
Despite our efforts to this point and the Parks Department’s enthusiastic response to your letters, providing walkable play spaces to the area south of Roslindale Square continues to be a challenge. Because there are no city-owned lots in this area that could quickly be developed into a traditional playground, we are asking the city to take an innovative, collaborative approach to developing play spaces in this area. We hope that the city will expand its efforts beyond the Parks Department by involving the Department of Neighborhood Development, Boston Creates, Boston Main Streets and Roslindale Village Main Street, the New Urban Mechanics, Boston Transportation Department, and any other agency that may play a role in the development of public spaces. When we suggested to Mayor Walsh that Roslindale could host a “play summit” including representatives from these groups, he was receptive to the idea.
Engaging our youth in play can take many forms, from whimsical interactive kinetic sculptures to completely unstructured “adventure playgrounds.” We expect that the city will consider any and all play space options in its efforts to address our play space shortage, and we look forward to helping the city do so.