The long-awaited renovation of North Street Veterans Playground will begin this coming week with the park’s new landscape design transforming it into an inviting and inspiring green space that can be enjoyed by children—and adults—of all ages.
Once completed in early summer 2014, North Street Veterans Playground in West Somerville will feature a multi-sport game court that can be used for basketball, street hockey, tennis or soccer. New entrances and pathways will lead visitors to a water spray feature and two play areas with rubber safety surfacing for children ages 2-5 and ages 5-12, featuring play structures, swings and slides as well as a giant climbing structure with rope ladders, bridges and a tube slide. Hills with trees at the parks edges will create a natural buffer and sense of green space. , Enhanced lighting, including attractive entrance columns lit from within, as well as the addition of video cameras, will improve the park’s safety and security and make it an inviting space in the early evening hours. Café-style seating under shade trees will offer comfortable space to relax as well.
“Parks are the living room of a greater community, where neighbors can relax, meet and enjoy a respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life,” Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone said. “This West Somerville neighborhood is getting the park it deserves, inviting residents out of their homes and into the community. The city has renovated or built more than 25 parks and open spaces in the last seven years, because spaces like this aren’t only social infrastructure but economic infrastructure that encourages private investment and business development. There’s nothing more encouraging than seeing a vibrant, active city with parks and streets filled with people.”
“The community has been collaborating with the City for years on the renovation of North Street Veterans Playround, with neighbors offering important insight and ideas for remaking this park into a true oasis in Ward 7,” said Ward 7 Alderman Bob Trane. “I can’t wait for ribbon cutting day next year when we can invite the whole community in to reap the rewards of their feedback and support, turning the park into a common area that everyone in the neighborhood can be proud of and enjoy, no matter their age.”
The new North Street Veterans Playground will also be 100 percent accessible and will increase in size by one half, thanks to a 4,500 square foot expansion that incorporates an easement from the Somerville Housing Authority on the north end of the park. Designs for the park were chosen after several community meetings. Thanks for the final vision of the park go out to the residents of Ward 7, Groundwork Somerville and the Urban Family Outreach Squad, the Wayside Youth and Family Support Network, the Somerville Housing Authority and the Somerville Police Department.
The renovation of North Street Veterans Playground is paid for with the combination of a $400,000 PARC (Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities) grant from the Commonwealth, federal Community Development Block Grant funds and $315,000 in city bond funding approved by the Board of Aldermen in January. A similar $500,000 PARC grant was used to partially fund the new Chuckie Harris Park that opened in East Somerville last month.
“We want to create a park that the community can take pride in and that will serve as a focal point for the neighborhood,” said Arn Franzen, Director of Parks and Open Space for the City of Somerville. “Feedback from the community has been vital in shaping the vision for North Street Veterans Playground. I look forward to that vision becoming a reality over the next several months and bringing with it a better quality of life for residents in the neighborhood.”
Weston & Sampson Engineers Boston’s landscape design studio, SPURR, created the design for the park. Cheri Ruane of Weston & Sampson is the landscape architect and Sequoia Construction of Whitman, MA, is the general contractor for the project.
North Street Veterans Playground will remain closed to the public during the construction period. Residents seeking information about the renovation or other nearby recreation resources should contact the Parks and Open Space Department by calling Project Manager Arn Franzen at 617-625-6600 ext 2545, or by email at AFranzen@somervillema.gov.