After several community workshops and information gathered through an online survey, the Trustees of Reservations and Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc., released the newest design of Piers Park III at a Community Design Review meeting last Wednesday .
These new design elements gathered through public feedback courtesy of Eastie residents includes less open water in favor of larger and more accessible landscapes.
Nick Black, Managing Director of The Trustees Boston Waterfront Initiative, said the new design maintains unique and exceptional public access to the water with an additional access point to the uplands area of the park while preserving the site’s maritime history.
The new design also adds more areas for habitats and robust ecological zones within the park such as a tidal pool and salt marsh.
“Piers Park III is being designed to be a welcoming, iconic, and resilient waterfront park that responds to community interest in accessing the water and creating immersive landscapes that improve natural habitat,” said Black. “Involving the community has been a critical part of this process from the very beginning, and our team is grateful for all of the ideas shared with us so far. We are continuing to gather feedback throughout 2022 and are expecting to share a third draft this summer.”
Black said many suggestions from the community indicated a desire for better integration with neighboring Phases I and II of Piers Park, something incorporated into the latest design.
Altogether, Piers Park Phases I, II, and III will provide 14.5 acres of public open space – a landscape more than twice the size of Christopher Columbus Park in Boston’s North End.
Black said the next Community Design Review will take place in mid-2022, when a third design draft will be shared, incorporating feedback gathered during last week’s meeting, as well as from ongoing engagement and virtual feedback tools available on onewaterfront.org/feedback.
Three years ago, the Trustees of Reservations submitted the only bid to Massport’s call for a private/public partner to come forward and help fund the design and construction of Piers Park Phase III.
The dilapidated pier is adjacent to Massport’s award winning Piers Park and the future Piers Park Phase II project.
The Trustees of Reservations operate 120 miles of protected coastline, which includes over 60 miles of trails, and a bunch of beaches and all sorts of other natural habitats in the state.
Massport has been working with the community and other stakeholders over the last two to three years to build out Piers Park Phase II. It was around this time the Trustees of Reservations started having conversations with Massport about their waterfront initiative.
Since being designated, the Trustees Boston Waterfront Initiative team has increased community outreach and engagement to gather feedback on the Piers Park III design and future programming opportunities in the park.
Throughout 2021, the Trustees team hosted and participated in events and programs across East Boston and beyond—including hosting 17 different meetings, events and programs including design meetings, webinars, in person programs in Piers Park, at Constitution Beach, and on the Mary Ellen Welch Greenway.
“We also participated in 20 events and programs hosted by partners in 2021— including the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center farmers markets, the Mexican Independence Celebration hosted by the Veronica Robles Cultural Center, the Eastie Halloween Block Party at Saratoga Street, and holiday tree lightings in Maverick and Central Squares,” said Black. “In addition, an online public survey to collect design ideas, concerns, and questions from the public generated over 1,000 responses. Overall the Waterfront Initiative interacted with nearly 3,000 people in person and online in 2021.”