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Cool Off at the Park

15 May

So many were at the park this first hot weekend. They were picnicking, swinging, enjoying ice cream and playing soccer, volleyball and tug of war.

Remember, Mass Audubon has the Powder Magazine open every Sunday now, 10am-4pm, and today, from 4-6pm, they have an orienteering program with Navigation Games and Cambridge Sports Union. See https://magazinebeach.org/events/.

We are awaiting word from DCR about when the spray deck and pool will open and the water fountains be turned on. More on this soon. Usually the pool opens in late June.

Enjoy our green urban oasis!

The Chairs Are Out…

14 May

Take a seat under the big old trees this weekend and enjoy the river breeze! Picnickers, remember there are no trash cans at the park yet, so bring a bag to carry in and carry out.

A Possible $50k Earmark for Magazine Beach…

27 Apr

Just Tweeted by Rep. Mike Connolly:

Pleased to report the House just voted to include my amendment #517 in our FY23 state budget! This will deliver $50,000 to @Magazine_Beach for continued improvements. Thank you to Rep. @JayLivingstone, @MassDCR and @CambMA for your longtime commitment to this treasured resource.

Thanks as well to Speaker @RonMariano, @RepMichlewitz and all of my colleagues for supporting this amendment. With incredible stewardship from Magazine Beach Partners, Inc. over the past decade, our city’s second-largest park has come a very long way! Excited for what comes next!

Now this earmark moves onto the Senate and then to the Governor for review. 

Cross your fingers!

Thank you, Rep. Connolly!

The Park Is Sparkling

25 Apr

Thanks to the 70 volunteers who cleaned up the park on Saturday and for the Charles River Conservancy’s leadership. We focused on picking up microtrash–the bottle caps and cigarette butts left behind, that go nowhere unless someone deliberately removes them. Some of these hard plastics will be incorporated into the Plastic Tapestry Project: art that reminds us that these plastics will be with us for the next 20-500 years… Special thanks to Pack 56, My Stryde, the Cambridge Running Club and the Riverside Boat Club.

Art, Nature, History & Community at the Park!

Mass Audubon kicked off their year of programming at the park and their 5-year tenancy of the Powder Magazine with an event with community partners. To a spring and summer of fun at Magazine Beach!

Earth Day Cleanup & Mass Audubon Spring Kick-Off Saturday, 4.23

22 Apr

Cleanup, 10am-12noon. Come down to the park from 1-4pm for Mass Audubon’s Spring Season Kick-Off with fun art, nature and history activities! FREE.

Partners include Green Cambridge, Cambridge Wildlife Arts, Magazine Beach Partners, the Charles River Conservancy, the Charles River Watershed Association, The Plastic Tapestry Project, Communities Responding to Extreme Weather, Cambridge Community Development and the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association.

Support ARPA Funding for Magazine Beach NOW. Meeting: Wed., 4.20 @ 2pm!

19 Apr

Tomorrow, on Wednesday, April 20, at 2pm the Cambridge Finance Committee will meet to discuss ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funding proposals. The City has received $65m Federal dollars and $23m Sate and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds—a total of $88m. About $33m of this has been dispersed. These funds are/were to provide COVID-19 relief, bring back jobs, address economic fallout, and lay the foundation for a strong and equitable recovery.

Magazine Beach Partners (MBP) has requested $1.8m of these funds to improve the park, which, during COVID, provided a refuge for people to gather safely and relax outdoors. The 17-acre park became more of a safe haven for connection and personal renewal than ever before. As the City becomes more populated, green open spaces like Magazine Beach will only become more important.

MBP proposes that these funds be used to implement Phase II-2 improvements: to turn the derelict area between the swimming pool and the river and its sunken parking lot into a grassy beach and add a dock and outlook that will increase engagement with the river. (See rendering above and image of current conditions below.) DCR has shovel ready plans for this! This is an opportunity to make a permanent, positive change at the park and remove its last eyesore.

The ARPA funds will match $2.7 million that DCR is investing now and next winter in bathhouse and pool renovations. We hope that DCR can fold these improvements into the pool work and restore this half acre of parkland while the site is already disturbed.

If you have a moment, please either email the Council a quick message TODAY or TOMORROW morning, supporting that the City invest ARPA funds at Magazine Beach.

To reach all Councilors, email: council@CambridgeMA.Gov

Or give public testimony. Sign up now to give testimony, either virtually or in person, at Public Comment Sign Up Form – City of Cambridge, MA (cambridgema.gov).

To attend the meeting virtually, go to The Finance Committee – City of Cambridge, MA (cambridgema.gov).

To attend the meeting in person, go to the 2nd Floor Sullivan Chamber at City Hall.

If you have questions, email or call me at czusy@magazinebeach.org or 617.868.0489.

Thank you for all of your support. It would be SO WONDERFUL if ARPA funds can advance this project. 

Current conditions at the site

Introducing the Plastic Tapestry Project

7 Apr

We are actively collecting hard plastic bottle caps for Magazine Beach’s first public art project – a Plastic Tapestry that will debut in the Powder Magazine this July. Many of the plastics in the tapestry will come from community clean-ups in Magazine Beach and the Charles River parklands. 

Sadly, most of the trash we pick up at the park is plastic and it will be around for hundreds of years. This community art project, designed by Riverside artist Michelle Lougee and curated by Cambridgeport resident Cecily Miller, reminds us of our dependency on this petroleum product and of its longterm and negative impacts. In 2016, America produced 42 million metric tons of plastic—twice as much as China, and more than all of the European Union. And only 2% of it is recycled! A lot of it is ending up in our oceans. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch covers 1.6 Million square kilometers, an area twice the size of Texas.

A grant from the Mass Cultural Council has provided seed money, but funds are still needed. Please contribute to this project by donating to our Go Fund Me campaign. Magazine Beach Partners is the fiscal sponsor for this project, so donations are tax deductible. 

Funds raised will support participation of young artists from the Cambridge Community Art Center, who will receive stipends for running workshops in their Port neighborhood and the Central Square farmers market.  Funds will also cover artist fees for additional workshops/talks, presentation of a film about plastics, supplies, and a celebration at the end – including live music! 

Come and meet Cecily and Michelle at Mass Audubon’s Open House on April 23, 1-4.  Sign up to get involved with plastic collection, cleaning and sorting, or making the tapestry here.

Project partners: the Morse School, Cambridge Community Center, Community Arts Center, Gallery 263, Mass Audubon, the Charles River Conservancy and Magazine Beach Partners

On Monday, our State Senators and Representatives walked the park with Magazine Beach Partners.

Our Senators & Representatives Walk the Park

Many thanks to State Senators Lydia Edwards and Sal DiDomenico (with redistricting, our senator in 2023) and Representatives Jay Livingstone and Michael Connolly (our rep. in 2023) for making the time to visit. Magazine Beach Partners were eager to show them the sunken parking lot between the pool and the river and share why it’s critical that the State invest in Phase II-2—turning that 1/2 acre into a grassy beach—next winter, when DCR redoes the swimming pool. The City, which has already committed $300,000 of CPA funds for this, and the community, which has donated $80,000 for this (THANK YOU!), is in if DCR is in. Please, DCR, help us to remove this last eyesore at the park and to create parkland in the process.

Thank you also to new City Councilors Paul Toner and Azeem Burhan who walked the park with us a few weeks ago. Paul’s father, and Sal’s, too, both swam in the river at Magazine Beach!

This sunken parking lot could become a grassy beach! Wouldn’t it be lovely?!

Thank you Putnam Avenue Upper School!

4 Apr

On Saturday over 60 students and their families from the Putnam Upper School picked up trash at the park and gathered hard plastics for the Plastic Tapestry Project. The park looks so much better!

It was a cold, windy day and yet the Putnam Upper School charged on and had fun doing it, too—running around, trying out the exercise equipment, eating pizza, and exploring Goose Meadow, too. We even discovered a huge (abandoned) goose egg there.

Thank you to the volunteers, and to our partners Mass Audubon and the Charles River Conservancy, for your help maintaining the park. DCR can’t do it without us!

The Pool Bathhouse is Looking a Little Different….

DCR is at work updating the bathhouse, making it universally accessible and adding bathrooms that will be accessible to park users, even when the Powder Magazine (opening later this spring!) is closed. Construction will be complete by mid June in time for the 2022 swim season.

Almost Spring!

18 Mar

Everyone is out. Skating, hanging from rings, playing badminton, reading, listening to music, chilling, rowing, walking, dog walking, playing soccer and picnicking…

Enjoy the park. Remember, there are no trash cans out, so it’s carry in and carry out.

Go to Events to learn about our 4.23 Cleanup and Spring Season Kick Off.

Hindi friends celebrated Holi at the park on Sunday with water and vibrant color. The festival celebrates the arrival of spring and the blossom of love. 

2021 in Review & Our Annual Report

5 Jan

Magazine Beach: 17 acres of green open space along the river to relax, gather, play, and connect with nature, safely during a pandemic.

with 10 new trees

a fairy bed!

a new shade structure at the spraydeck and petunias in the planters, too

25 red Adirondack chairs

yoga, stories & song, Math Trail, and Summer Nights

And now, hurray!, Mass Audubon as the tenant for the Powder Magazine.

Happening in 2022: pool bathhouse improvements, new historic interpretative markers, and we hope, Phase II-2–the sunken parking lot between the pool and river becoming a grassy beach.

For more information, see our hot-off-the-press 2021 MBP Annual Report.

To share your thoughts and ideas about the park with Mass Audubon, please complete their Magazine Beach Park Community Engagement Survey.

Happy new year, all! Be well! And enjoy the park.