Sumner School Walkway Improvements

Roslindale Wants to Play is thrilled to publicly announce a project we have been working on for several months. We are partnering with the Charles Sumner School’s Parent Council to redesign the school’s rear walkway, which provides access to the school from Cummins Highway. We think this easy-to-overlook corridor has the potential to be a vibrant, fun, and educational space that better connects the Sumner School to the Roslindale community.

Please join us at a design charrette on March 13 at 2:00 – 3:30 PM at Roslindale House, 120 Poplar Street.

At the charrette the designers will look for your ideas for the best play elements for this space and lead us through fun design exercises aimed at all ages.  We encourage kids to come. If you have a Facebook account, please let us know if you are attending by responding to our event.

About This Project

In collaboration with the Sumner School community, Roslindale Wants to Play has secured grant funding through The Boston Foundation for improvements to the school’s walkway to Cummins Highway. Though small, this area will almost double the Sumner School’s active playground footprint.  We have also engaged a team of talented local architects and designers that is providing pro bono design services. The next step in this exciting project is to work with the community to create a design that is fun and interesting, with the goal of both enlivening Roslindale Square and enhancing the Sumner School’s connection to the neighborhood.

The Site

The walkway is located behind the Sumner School, running adjacent to the post office between Cummins Highway and the school playground. As the photographs below demonstrate, this site is full of unmet potential.

The opportunities that our team of architects have already identified include:

  • Improving the fence and pavement
  • Maintaining the planters
  • Planting more trees
  • Improving accessibility
  • Adding a mural, pattern, or game to the retaining wall
  • Redefining the fence
  • Developing a gateway
  • Fixing and maintaining the benches
  • Improving use of the site’s assets: trees, sun, and shade
  • Making a presence


While getting this project off the ground, Roslindale Wants to Play and the design team have shared concepts that we find appealing. While many of these designs are impractical for the specific space we are developing, they provide some idea of the kinds of things we find interesting or exciting.

Design Team Experience

A member of the design team has experience with innovative play space design. See the gallery below for a glimpse at a playground that he designed in Tucson, Arizona.

5 thoughts on “Sumner School Walkway Improvements

  1. Lauren says:

    Is there any possibility these funds could be reassigned to aid in playground rebuilding? I’m just heart sick the kids have lost their playspace

    • ckollett says:

      We will know more about the plan for both the walkway and the playground within the next few days. Right now it’s too early to say how – or if – the playground reconstruction will affect this project. The playground is absolutely a very high priority, however.

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