The Solomon Foundation champions Greater Boston's irreplaceable parks and greenways, and their unique contribution to the quality of urban life. Our mission: to cultivate innovative projects that enhance the beauty, utility, and accessibility of our major public parks and greenways.
From the beginning in 2005 we have prided ourselves in our ability to frame visionary yet practical projects that can inspire support and get built. Each project requires its own partnership approach. There are times when we join other non- profits in advocating for government action and then support our park agencies in moving forward. There are other times when we lead in the design and funding of a new park project. In every case we work in close partnership with like minded leaders inside and outside of government.
Recently we have sought to unlock new parkland in the heart of the city by rolling back overly wide or abandoned roadways. Repurposing outmoded infrastructure to make the city a greener and more livable place is a growing area of interest. If you have experience doing this we would love to hear from you.
Commissioner Roy, Secretary Beaton, Herb Nolan, and Tom Powers cutting the ribbon.
On July 21 Secretary Matthew Beaton and Commissioner Leo Roy were joined by Tom Powers from Perkins School for the Blind and Herb Nolan from the Solomon Foundation to cut the ribbon on the long-awaited Watertown Riverfront Park project. DCR senior staff including Dan Driscoll (project manager),Tom McCarthy and Rick Corsi, the design team and contractor, and numerous members of the community were all there to help celebrate. The braille trail with its innovative sensory garden created by artist Mitch Ryerson was described by Perkins staff as one of the most accessible parks for visually impaired people in the country. It took 10 years (including five DCR commissioners and one recession) to complete this extraordinary project. This would not have happened without the critical support of the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund. In his remarks, Herb Nolan emphasized the importance of shared vision and leadership over time to accomplish projects of this scale and complexity.
Phase 2 of the Watertown Riverfront Park will make the existing playground fully accessible and extend pathway and bank improvements all the way down to Squibnocket Park on N. Beacon Street. Half a million dollars have been contributed by Simmons College to accomplish these critical improvements.
Construction of Greenough Greenway which began in July of this year is substantially done and garnering rave reviews from the many people who are already using it. Over 160 trees have been planted along a wide new path along the river and new stainless steel bollards are in place to mark the finish line for the world famous Head of the Charles Regatta. A new soft path around the Hells Half Acre marsh has unlocked access to views of the marsh and river. Due to the summer drought the grass has not germinated but once reseeded in the fall should grow in. Building on this success the DCR allocated additional funding to address site issues to repave Greenough Boulevard. We are very thankful for their commitment of time and money to this transformative project and for going the extra mile. No date for a ribbon-cutting has been set yet but we hope the scores of people who were involved in making this a reality will come help celebrate when the time comes.
Charlesgate Greenway - phase 1
With full support from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) the Department of Conservation and Recreation has hired the Halvorson Company, Alta Planning and Design and VHB to complete design work on the Charlesgate Greenway. This is one of the most important north-south connections for cyclists and pedestrians in the greater Boston area. It will link two of our most historic greenways: the Emerald Necklace and the Charles River Basin.The consultants have been asked to further refine and develop the original design commissioned by the Solomon Foundation in 2012. Key stakeholders were consulted this summer and the first public meeting is expected in the fall of 2016. This project will be shovel ready by 2017. In addition to covering the cost of design MassDOT has committed well over $1 million towards construction.