By John Lynds
The City of Boston officials held the first in a series of meetings at the Marty Pino Center to begin getting community feedback on how residents would like to see Noyes Park transformed.
Mayor Martin Walsh recently announced $3.1 million in spending to overhaul Noyes Park in Orient Heights. The Walsh administration will initially spend $400,000 on design this fiscal year and another $2.7 million on construction at the park following a community process.
The City’s project manager, Nathan Frazee, said over the past 15 years the city has overhauled all of Eastie’s parks from large opens paces like LoPresti Park on the waterfront to smaller neighborhood pocket parks like Cuneo Park on Byron Street.
“We have an opportunity here to design a park for the community that is the vision of the community,” said Frazee.
Frazee said last weeks meeting was to begin to get ideas from residents that could include changing the elements of the park’s playground, courts, baseball fields, updating lighting at Noyes to make the large 8.2 acre neighborhood park more welcoming.
Rep. Adrian Madaro and City Councilor Sal LaMattina, who were both at the meeting, encouraged residents at the meeting to spread the word to neighbors and friends to get involved in the park’s redevelopment.
“We have a great opportunity here,” said Madaro. “This part has not been touched in my lifetime and we need as much community input as we can get.”
LaMattina thanked Mayor Walsh for making Noyes a priority and was excited at the prospect of transforming the park into something better.
Frazee said the city has set a timeline for the project. After a series of community meeting in April and May the city hopes to lockdown a design based on community input. The park will be designed and sent out to bid over the summer and construction should begin in Fall 2017.
“We hope to have the park completed by spring 2018,” said Franzee.
At the meeting the city said they hope, with the help of residents, to create a park that includes elements of inclusion for all residents, more shade, increased access, enhanced visibility while perceiving some elements like trees and open space.
“The park was established in 1909 and is obviously a jewel in the neighborhood,” said Landscape Architect Steve Fusco. “After a site analysis we found no work, aside from upkeep, has been done since fall 1998. What we want to do is some data collecting over the next three meetings because you know the park and the neighborhood better than we do. We know there are problems with the lawn’s condition, there are drainage problems, the fences need updates and the playground is not up to today’s safety standards.”
With the baseball fields getting a lot of use, residents were in agreement that those should be preserved but the lighting at the park needs to be improved with modern lighting treatments. There was also a call for more shade and shelters at the field like a gazebo and roofs over dugouts.
Other residents mentioned the need for parking at Noyes. Residents complained that during games and other events at the park, residents are forced to park on the sidewalks along Boardman and Saratoga Streets.
Some other suggestions included creating a central meeting space at the park as well as a dedicated soccer pitch. Residents also want to see more seating around the baseball diamonds, potential space for concession stands and bathrooms. However, the city’s Marchelle Jacques-Yarde said the Parks Department has moved away from being in the business of concessions and most park rehabs do not include restroom facilities. This was disappointing to many in the crowd but Jacques-Yarde said there was nothing prohibiting the community from forming a ‘friends’ group and raise money for restroom facilities and concessions during the warm months.
The next meeting regarding Noyes Park will be held on Tuesday, April 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the Marty Pino Center on Boardman Street.