Future of South Street Mall starts taking shape

November 16, 2007
By

ARTHUR CUSANO


Graphic Courtesy of Boston Parks and Recreation Dept., Jamaica Plain Centre/South Main Streets, Ray Dunetz Landscape Architecture, Beth Galston, Artist. Swirl Paving Options.

SOUTH ST.—Almost two-dozen people were on hand at Curtis Hall on Nov. 8 to view and discuss the proposed ideas for renovating the South Street Mall at South Street and Carolina Avenue. Several three-dimensional models and sketches created by JP landscape architect Ray Dunetz and artist Beth Galston were presented for attendees to view. The two main concepts presented were a leaf-themed scheme and a “flowing” swirl scheme.

“Nothing that we show today is carved in stone,” said Boston Parks and Recreation Department Project Manager Angie Murray. “These are ideas that we have gained from you guys from the first meeting about how you want to use the space. Listen to what Ray and Beth have and think about it.”

The leaf concept includes various ideas for incorporating leaf shapes into the park, such as leaf paintings, leaf-shaped benches, leaf-shaped metal grids and leaf shapes on fences.

A second concept featured wavy flowing benches and fences that Dunetz described as being “all about emotion.”

An arborist who surveyed the park said three of its trees are in good condition, while the rest are less healthy and should be eliminated or replaced, Dunetz said. One resident said that the current trees in the mall make it too dark and intimidating.

JP resident Elizabeth Hastie suggested adding black and white mosaics similar to those she had seen in other cities. She also recommended getting local youth carpentry groups such as a class at the Eliot School involved with construction.

The need for fences between the park and courts was questioned, with some claiming the fences make access difficult. Murray added that law enforcement asked that any fences in the park not be opaque for safety reasons.

The group discussed having a removable stage and move screen for the mall. Using illuminated or translucent surfaces was also considered. Dunetz mentioned putting up a bulletin board/kiosk in the mall, which was very well received.

There are currently no plans to alter the bus shelter adjacent to the mall, although some in attendance said that the florescent lighting at the shelter is harsh and unattractive.

Murray stressed that the project is working on a limited budget, with $230,000 in capital funding from the Parks Department and a $5,000 Browne Fund Grant to pay for art elements in the park. Galston, the artist, said that, while that sounds like a lot of money, it doesn’t go as far as many might think.

The third and final meeting, where the final design will be presented for discussion and clarification, will be held in “about a month,” or sometime around Dec. 10. Construction on the project is slated to begin in spring, 2008.

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