Park Projects

See our annual report here: MB Partners Annual Report 2018.

PARK PROJECTS

These current and upcoming projects are part of our comprehensive plan for regenerating the park. The plan was shaped by park-goers’ ideas and expert analysis, and collaboratively refined with our partners at the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the City of Cambridge, and the landscape architecture firm Crosby Schlessinger Smallridge (CSS).

Do you have ideas for the park’s future? Let us know! Write to us at czusy@magazinebeach.org or introduce yourself at a park event.

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Current Project: Take Me to the River (Phase II.1)

Phase II.1 will respond to local needs by:

  • reconnecting people with the Charles River;
  • transforming the park’s 1818 Powder Magazine into a community home base; and
  • reintegrating the park’s exceptionally diverse zones, uses, and users.

Work on the project is expected to begin in the spring of 2019.

Reconnecting People with the Charles River

  • The State’s Charles River Masterplan flags Magazine Beach’s natural and built elements as “worn out” and “disjointed,” with the buildings “bear[ing] little relation to the river or nearby parkland.”
  • Envision Cambridge flags the parkland on the Basin: “Of particular importance” because it “connects the river to many neighborhoods,” it is not used to its “potential as [a] community resource.”
  • Our park-goers agree. Much of the river is blocked by a 14-foot-high wall of vegetation and the river path is degraded. Users want “gaps in the greenery,” “open views,” “seats,” and linking paths that accommodate walking, tricycles, wheelchairs, and bikes.

Fostering Community Interaction

  • The Cambridge Needs Assessment reports that sites for forming “social capital” are “breaking down” under “population churn,” and being “driven out” as property values increase. We need barrier-free public spaces for fostering community cohesion.
  • Our park-goers agree: “there’s not enough opportunity to get people to talk.” A transformed Powder Magazine should “bring people together to get people to talk.”
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Early rendering of expanded Magazine patio, new terrace & additional wall seating.

Project Solutions

We’ll grade the riverside pathway; prune obstructive planting; add native shore edge planting; remove invasive species; add a variety of seating; and plant trees. Features such as a swinging bench and a series of opened views will deepen park-goers’ closeness to the life of the river.

We’ll also transform the Powder Magazine area into a space that fosters gatherings. The building’s terrace, loved by park-goers for its elevated views, could accommodate a large mix of people were it not cramped and cut off from adjacent park zones. The building itself could better accommodate a community-oriented daytime tenant, were it better integrated with its terrace, patio, and linking paths.

We’ll expand the patio and create a terrace just outside of the Magazine’s river side; and lower the existing wall to open up views while expanding the wall seating.

Park-goers of all ages and abilities, whether seated or in an active zone, will cross paths. These changes will foster a greater number and variety of neighbor-to-neighbor interactions, while also integrating the 1818 building back into the park’s fabric: its treasured open space and river shore.

Project Costs & Funding 

We are awaiting a final cost estimate from Crosby Schlessinger Smallridge (CSS). The City of Cambridge and Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) have pledged a total of $310,900 for the shoreline work, and DCR has just committed another $500,000 to softscape (vegetation). A $25,000 State budget earmark and $50,000 of MBP community-raised funds have also been dedicated to Phase II-1. We anticipate additional commitments to support the completion of this project.

Please consider making a gift! We welcome donations. Please donate here or, better yet, mail us a check made out to: “Magazine Beach Partners.” (We receive the full donation if you write a check.)

Mail checks to: MBP Treasurer Marge Amster at: 10 McTernan St., Cambridge, MA 02139.

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FUTURE PROJECTS

As funding becomes available, we remain committed to realizing the overall park plan. Thank you, park users and neighbors, for helping shape the future of Magazine Beach by envisioning improvements. Priorities for the upcoming phases currently include:

  • Improving care of existing trees and adding trees and native plantings
  • Replacing sunken parking lot with a grassy lawn
  • Adding picnic tables and benches
  • Adding grills and bins for hot coals
  • Adding play space for children
  • Improving the substandard bike and pedestrian path along Memorial Drive (in design this fall)
  • Adding permanent interpretive signs (in development)
  • Improving path system within park
  • Adding information kiosks and improving park entrances
  • Maintaining stormwater treatment basins
  • Adding rain gardens
  • Adding shade to spray deck and pool areas
  • Adding bike racks
  • Ensuring more consistent management of park maintenance

Magazine Beach Partners’ PARK PROJECTS are not constructed like the 1818 Powder Magazine–not made of stone. Get in touch; comment on the plan; float your ideas. We are a citizen support group for the park—and the park comes to life through its community!

Email Cathie Zusy at czusy@magazinebeach.org or call 617.8687.0489.

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Opening in the Spring 2019: An ADA-accessible canoe/kayak launch and outlook. Screen Shot 2017-12-30 at 8.31.08 PM

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DCR Will Soon be Seeking a Tenant for the Powder Magazine

Got ideas? Contact DCR’s Jennifer Norwood. Click here to see the community’s Curatorship Principles & Recommendations.

 

 

 

 

 

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