Now that summer is here, I would like to share with you the free events and programs offered to City residents of all ages by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department.
As a boy growing up in Dorchester, I learned how important our parks and playgrounds are to the families of our City. We could not always go away, so our summer vacations were spent in the neighborhood. Savin Hill Beach and Castle Island were our version of Cape Cod.
Now, more than ever, summer in the City is filled with outdoor fun. Parents looking for healthy and entertaining activities can find all they need in the “Summer in the Parks” guide, located on the Boston Parks and Recreation Department homepage at www.boston.gov/parks.
The Parks Department offers free children’s art workshops, neighborhood concerts, festivals, splash dance parties, movie nights, watercolor classes for adults, and more.
Together, the Boston Parks and Recreation Department and Boston Centers for Youth & Families host an array of activities that make it possible for boys and girls to have a great time, while learning in the great outdoors. There are a wide variety of healthy, free activities across Boston neighborhoods, including: summer camps; athletic clinics and tournaments in baseball, cross country, soccer, softball, and hockey, summer camps; golf lessons and Mayor’s Cup golf, tennis with Tenacity; as well as the Fenway Challenge with the Red Sox. Additional youth programming is held at the Sports Centers of Moakley Park, East Boston Stadium, and White Stadium at Franklin Park.
I’m proud of our world-class golf courses: the George Wright in Hyde Park and the William Devine at Franklin Park, in Dorchester. Both locations offer reasonable fees, and can be found online at www.cityofbostongolf.com.
The men and women of the Parks Department have been working diligently to ready our parks and playgrounds for the summer, and we’re already off to a great start! We launched the Swan Boats, we brought our swans Romeo and Juliet back to the Public Garden, and we stocked Jamaica Pond with trout. I have personally visited parks citywide and met with residents at our Neighborhood Coffee Hours. The parks look great and I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the workers who line the fields, plant flowers, cut the grass, and continue to make improvements to our facilities.
To celebrate, we’ve held ground-breaking and ribbon-cutting ceremonies at Edgerly Playground in the Fenway, American Legion Playground in East Boston, and Iacono Playground in Hyde Park. When you have a chance, visit these locations and check out the upgrades!
I also encourage you to explore our City’s Urban Wilds, a precious collection of natural spaces that go beyond the boundaries of the traditional parks system. These sites feature walking trails, neighborhood vistas, and natural gems including streams and waterfalls. Some of my favorites are Sherrin Woods in Hyde Park, Bussey Brook in Jamaica Plain, Allandale Woods in Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury, and Condor Street Urban Wild on the water in East Boston. I extend my thanks to the hundreds of community service volunteers from Deloitte, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, US Bank, City Year, Curry College, Harvard University, Boston University, and Northeastern University who help maintain and improve our Urban Wilds. More information on the City’s Urban Wilds can be found, here: http://www.cityofboston.gov/Parks/UrbanWilds/.
To Boston’s animal lovers: our very special guests, the goats, will be returning to trim unwelcome foliage at West Street, and a second group will be sent to forage at the George Wright Golf Course. Goats are an eco-friendly way to regulate overgrowth and manage pests and weeds, while giving nutrients back to the earth. Last year, they were a huge hit, combatting poison ivy, buckthorn, Japanese knotweed, and other invasive plant species.
If you have an opportunity, please explore all that Boston’s parks have to offer. They are the perfect place to relax with your family and friends. And if you’re playing a round out at the George Wright, don’t be surprised if you spot a goat or two!
Martin J. Walsh is the Mayor of Boston.