About

 


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This site is dedicated to providing information about Magazine Beach Park in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  Magazine Beach is a seventeen-acre public park on the banks of the Charles River, featuring a granite Powder Magazine built in 1818. The park is at the foot of Magazine Street and Memorial Drive, across from Micro Center Plaza.

The Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association is working with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation to revitalize the park and to restore it as a place of beauty.

Update: August 16, 2017, a new non-profit was born: Magazine Beach Partners, Inc. We, a spin off of the Magazine Beach Committee of the CNA, are dedicated to advocating for the park. We chose the name because we partner with others to get the job done.

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Case Statement for Magazine Beach Park Revitalization Efforts

At seventeen acres, Magazine Beach is Cambridge’s 2nd largest park. It is centrally located along the Charles River between the BU Bridge and the Riverside Boat Club. It has been designated as a destination by both the Mass. Department of Conservation & Recreation (DCR) and the City of Cambridge’s Riverfront plans, yet it has broken picnic tables, benches, and wading pool, sunken pavement, a wall of vegetation blocking river access and a vacant granite-block focal point—the 1818 powder house, the oldest building on the Charles River.

Magazine Beach Partners is dedicated to working with DCR and the City of Cambridge to improve this park, with the goal of it becoming a vital, green, open space resource for Cambridge and the Greater Boston metropolitan area. We want it to be a welcoming place, offering everyone access to the sky, to the river, to nature and to community.

History

The Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association, in partnership with the Riverside Boat Club and the Charles River Conservancy, first started working with DCR at Magazine Beach with its initial cleanup there in November of 2010. Since then we have inspired over $2 million of investment from the City of Cambridge, Massachusetts (DCR), individuals, foundations and businesses to:

  1. study the 1818 Powder Magazine—the oldest structure on the Charles River;
  2. renovate the Powder Magazine, install a spray deck, remove the broken wading pool and expand the canoe/kayak launch;
  3. sponsor programs at the park; and
  4. complete landscape plans for the western part of the park.

We have organized four exhibitions, produced four films, published a history of the site and a seasonal nature newsletter, held three fundraisers, created four full summers of activity at the park, maintained a website with over 90,000 hits to date (magazinebeach.org), and advocated for the park by giving testimony, writing letters, and meeting with local and State leaders. Thanks to the leadership of Senator Joe Boncore, former Senator Anthony Petruccelli and Representative Jay Livingstone, the Powder Magazine was added to DCR’s Historic Curatorship Program in 2014. Its designation will allow a third party to lease the building for an extended period in exchange for converting it to its next use. (Since then, DCR has decided that it might use a different vehicle to lease out the building since so much money has already been invested in it.)

The Magazine Beach Committee members, now Magazine Beach Partners board members, all volunteer their time to this effort. They commit their professional skills in project management, design, writing, editing, photography, fundraising and strategic planning towards the goal of creating a nicer park.

Where We Are Today

Park Design: At the Committee’s urging, in the fall of 2014 DCR and the City of Cambridge committed $56.5k each to update and complete existing landscape plans for the western part of the park. DCR opened the public process regarding park design in early 2015. We hope to have a final design and bid documents by the end of 2017 and to see the park’s renovation implemented over the next years. DCR estimates that the project will cost $5-6 million.

The Committee’s goals for the final design include:

  • water and play features for children
  • picnic areas with cooking grills, tables and benches
  • public bathrooms
  • park entrances with information kiosks
  • bike racks and bicycle and pedestrian paths linking the park and the powder magazine to a network of riverfront paths
  • outlooks and a dock, engaging visitors with the river
  • a grassy beach between the swimming pool and river and
  • the removal of some of the “wall of vegetation” that blocks river views.

Magazine Beach Partners, a non-profit tax-exempt organization, is now raising funds to support these park features.

Please donate now to maintain the momentum we have established with local officials and our elected representatives.

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Just restored: Powder Magazine. October 2016.

The Powder Magazine: In October 2016, DCR has finished the stabilization of the building exterior–adding a new roof, windows and doors; repointing the masonry; and adding security lighting.  They will complete interior renovations this fall and winter. Soon DCR will be seeking a tenant for the granite-block building that is the focal point for the park. Want to be the building’s tenant? Contact: HCP.Requests@state.ma.us. For the Magazine Beach Committee’s Curatorship Principles & Recommended Uses for the Powder Magazine, click here: Curatorship Principles & Recomm final. For further information about park revitalization efforts, go to magazinebeach.org.

Summary:

  • Organizing Institution: Magazine Beach Partners, Inc., a tax exempt, 501c3 non-profit (formerly, the Magazine Beach Committee of the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association, Inc.)
  • Administrators of the Park: the Mass. Department of Conservation & Recreation
  • Estimated Cost to make improvements: $5-6 million
  • Proposed Improvements: new water and play features for children, picnic tables, benches, grills, bike rack, info kiosk, new paths, public bathrooms and landscaping.
  • Contact Information: Cathie Zusy,  President, Magazine Beach Partners, 617-868-0489, or mailto:cathzusy@gmail.com.
  • Note: Please keep making donations out to the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Assn., Inc.” for “MB Park revitalization” until we get our MBPs bank account open!

 

 

One Response to “About”

  1. tom mcgovern July 2, 2015 at 9:49 pm #

    Have enjoyed the pool and park for yearsMy 94 year old uncle just passed away,buy had storys to tell about the beach!!Can’t wait to see the new improvements,like more modern bathhouse.

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