Real Estate Today: Peace Garden redesign comes into focus

September 27, 2013
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EGLESTON SQ.—The plan for the redesign of the Egleston Square Peace Garden is coming into focus.

The Peace Garden property, which is located at the corner of Washington and School Streets, is owned by Clear Channel Outdoor, which has a billboard on the site, but the park is leased by the Ecumenical Social Action Committee, Inc. (ESAC). It is a 10-year lease that expires in 2018.

Community Outreach Group for Landscape Design (COGdesign) has come up with three redesign plans for the Peace Garden and has received community comment on them, according to Bill Minkle, executive director of ESAC. He said that there was not “overwhelming support” for any one of the plans and that the final plan will likely merge all three plans together.

Minkle said COGdesign will present a plan based on feedback during a Sept. 26 community meeting, after the Gazette deadline. A plan will be finalized within six to eight weeks of that meeting, when the fundraising will begin, according to Minkle.

The Peace Garden was originally designed by students at the Greater Egleston Community High School and it has a mural inside, which memorialize those who lost their lives to violence on the streets of Boston. The former abandoned lot was part of a community-wide effort in 2002 that involved ESAC, Egleston Square Main Streets, the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation and other community groups and businesses.

COGdesign’s three plans for the redesign of the Peace Garden are called ‘Urban Plaza,’ ‘Flower Power’ and ‘The Gathering Space.’ ‘Urban Plaza’ would emphasize that the garden is a meeting space for events while having room for reflection. “Flower Power” would gear the garden for play and expression. “The Gathering Space” would be centrally-focused and be suited for entertainment purposes.

“I like pieces of all three,” said Minkle, but added he did not want impose his opinion, as he wants the community to decide the future of the garden.

Minkle said he doesn’t have an estimate on how much the redesign will cost because there is no final plan. But, he said, he expects that ESAC will be able to raise the funds needed.

“It can’t be insane. We will do what we can,” said Minkle.