-By Dan Murphy
Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) officials unveiled the updated construction plan and schedule for the Esplanade Playspace last week during the third public meeting to vet the proposal.
Friends of the Esplanade Playspace is building an approximately 10,000 square-foot playground for 5- to 12-year-olds on the state-owned Charles River Esplanade, a short distance from the Arthur Fiedler Footbridge near the Hatch Shell café. Boston-based Halvorson Design Partnership is the architect for the project, and ValleyCrest Landscape Companies was selected as the contractor.
Construction for the privately funded project will cost around $1 million, and the Friends group has also pledged a $400,000 endowment for maintenance and programming, which aims to combat the reportedly high level of childhood obesity in the city, according to a representative of the non-profit.
Samantha Overton, DCR acting director of urban parks and recreation, told the crowd of roughly 20 people at Community Boating Thursday that construction was scheduled to get underway immediately after July 4 and would likely be completed in early October.
Halverson Design Senior Associate Rob Adams Sr. said the construction area would be cordoned off with a 6-foot fence and limited equipment would be allowed on site.
All deliveries to the site would be closely coordinated with DCR and State Police to minimize impacts, Adams said.
Adams said three small cherry trees would be removed during construction, but a 20-foot protective diameter would separate other existing trees from the work area.
Meanwhile, Tani Marinovich, founding member of the Friends group, said plans were underway to invite fifth-graders from around the city to the playground on President’s Physical Fitness Day as part of the endowment.
“Ultimately, we want to get kids away from texting and back into the playground.” Marinovich said.