Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Boston Parks and Recreation Commissioner Ryan Woods, residents, and park advocates today unveiled renovations around Jamaica Pond, including new and improved pathways, repairs to entrances, increased seating, newly-planted trees and accessibility improvements. This $4.7 million capital investment builds on Mayor Walsh’s commitment to ensuring Bostonians in every neighborhood live in close proximity to clean, fully inclusive green spaces.
“This project is a great example of our mission to preserve, maintain, and improve a park system that is so rich in history,” said Mayor Walsh. “I can think of no better example of our commitment to parks than this project, through which Frederick Law Olmsted’s vision is honored and respected with these exciting new improvements to the park. At the same time we are honoring the work of Christine Cooper whose tireless advocacy laid the foundation for the amazing park we see today.”
The $4,770,000 project, funded through Mayor Walsh’s $2.79 billion five-year capital plan, was completed in two phases. The first focused on the area around Pinebank Promontory and the ball field and included new paving of pathways, repairs to entrances, a new water bottle filler, new rules and bike signage, new benches, and new trees.
The second phase involved renovating pathways surrounding the pond and the Department of Conservation and Recreation multi-use path along the Jamaicaway and included the same scope of improvements along with water bottle fillers, new exercise equipment, and a new accessible fishing platform. Additional upgrades included accessibility upgrades to the boathouse plaza, addition of a runner’s path, and drainage improvements to help pond water quality.
“Jamaica Pond has long been called the jewel of the Emerald Necklace,” said Boston Parks Commissioner Ryan Woods. “These improvements make it shine even brighter, making the park even more user-friendly while serving the thousands of people who cycle, walk, jog, and stroll along its shoreline.”
At the unveiling, Mayor Walsh renamed the boathouse in honor of Christine Cooper, a long-time supporter of restoring and revitalizing the park.
“Having worked with Christine for over 30 years at Jamaica Pond, her recognition is an extremely important dynamic of the deeply rooted partnership between the City of Boston and nonprofit community organizations,” said Gerry Wright, coordinator for The Friends of Jamaica Pond and Olmsted 2022. “The Friends of Jamaica Pond and Olmsted 2022 are gratefully thankful along with hundreds of other citizens in Jamaica Plain and beyond for Christine’s life and work which embodied the pristine beauty of the natural wonders of the waters of the pond, the hill, and surrounding park lands.”
The pathways project has produced major accessibility upgrades to the park. As a result of this investment, 100 percent of the entrances now meet ADA guidelines, including the boathouse plaza and 95 percent of the pathways throughout the park, an increase from 65 percent. Additional seating was also added along the pathways, half of which have an adjacent companion seat. The three drinking fountain/bottle fillers throughout the park are now ADA compliant as well.
“The Boston Parks and Recreation Department has created ideal accessibility throughout the Pond’s built environment,” said Boston Disability Commissioner Kristen McCosh. “Visitors with disabilities can now enjoy all of the public open spaces that had been previously inaccessible. Visitors will also have the opportunity to participate in the various programs and activities offered at the Pond now that all of the recreational facilities have been upgraded.”
The project was designed to help water quality through drainage improvements by adding swales on the uphill side of the pathway to retain and infiltrate stormwater before crossing over the path into the pond. Sediment catchment was also added to the top of each cobble swale to allow sediment to settle prior to water flowing over the swale into the pond, and the runner’s path was designed to funnel water to the cobble swales in order to avoid erosion along the pond edges.
The improvement project upgraded signage in the park by adding place identification signage, new “no swimming/no skating” and “no feeding the wildlife” signs, and signs and pavement markings with bike rules.
The improvements to the pathways are part of the over $60.6 million allocated specifically to the Emerald Necklace in the Mayor’s latest capital budget, the largest-ever capital funding for Boston parks.