Long-awaited improvements are underway this week on Merrymount Parkway. Crews will begin installing conduit for underground utility lines, making way for more significant aesthetic enhancements to this historic parkway.
This current phase will start in March and run through the beginning of June. The plans to enhance to parkway date back more than a decade in the City’s ‘Master Plan for Merrymount Park.’ The plans call for burying the utility lines underground, replacing old sidewalks, adding a planted median island to the southern portion of the parkway, installing historic-period lighting, and planting new trees and beds to give the road a true parkway feel.
Merrymount Park was gifted to the City in 1885 by Charles Francis Adams II. Adams discussed plans for the park with his friend and renowned landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. Plans for the park were drawn up by Olmsted Associates Charles Elliot and Herbert Kellaway.
“We have only just begun to tap the potential for this magnificent property,” said Mayor Thomas Koch. “Throughout history, various plans for the park were designed and set aside. We are now bringing to life the visions of some of the most noted landscape architects in our nation’s history. We are improving access and aesthetics to the most utilized park in our city.”
Additional phases will include replacing the vehicular bridge along Merrymount Parkway that traverses Black’s Creek. The bridge, which is actually two six-foot box culverts, is in desperate need of repair. Permitting and design for that project are ongoing. Construction could start on that phase in 2022.
The Master Plan also calls for reconstructing foot bridges that once created better access throughout the park. Currently in design and permitting is a foot bridge to link to Pine Island from the Ryan Boathouse. A second foot bridge plan has been replaced by an overlook along Furnace Brook Parkway capitalizing on gorgeous views of Black’s Creek and the adjacent salt marsh.
“We’ve seen how important local walking trails and exercise opportunities are through the events of the past year,” said Commissioner of Natural Resources Dave Murphy. “The enhancements to the park and the added access to additional parks of the park will open up new opportunities for our residents. When these projects are complete, I think Adams would be quite proud of what has become of his park.”