Community members stated a preference for better Emerald Necklace connections and a dog park in the new acre to be added to Southwest Corridor Park (SWCP) as a side effect of the Casey Arborway project.
As a result of demolishing the Casey Overpass and replacing it with a new Casey Arborway surface street, the park will gain about an acre-and-a-quarter of new land. State Department of Transportation (MassDOT) consultants brought several sketches and ideas to the park’s Parkland Management Advisory Committee (PMAC) meeting on Feb. 6 at the District E-13 Police Station.
The current park is a compact entrance to one of the city’s major parks. Small grassy areas and few benches—mostly used by homeless visitors—do not emphasize the park’s beauty and importance, PMAC President Janet Hunkel said.
The biggest request was to emphasize the Emerald Necklace connection among the Arnold Arboretum to the west, Franklin Park to the east and the SWCP to the north. Members of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, the SWCP PMAC and the Franklin Park Coalition agreed to host a joint meeting to discuss options as how to best accomplish that goal. That meeting has yet to be scheduled.
While a plaza has been planned to surround a new Forest Hills station subway access point on the park, the size and use of the plaza had not yet been decided. Community members stated a preference for a smaller plaza that allowed more direct bicycle and pedestrian paths through the area.
A dog park was tentatively placed on the northeastern corner of the park, along Washington Street.
State, city and transit police representatives advised the consultants on the importance of easy visibility and how that might translate to landscaping choices like taller trees and fewer shrubs.
The Casey Arborway project is budgeted at $52 million and includes roughly $20 million in improvements, including the park’s makeover.
The Casey Arborway project deisgn community meeting is scheduled for Feb. 27. Demolition of the overpass is expected to begin by the end of the year.