Beginning with an effort to rebuild a dilapidated playground, a group determined to restore the Esplanade in its entirety formed The Esplanade Association (TEA) in 2001.
Since then, TEA has been working to protect, restore and enhance this iconic century old park. With thanks to their many donors, volunteers, partner organizations and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), TEA is proud to celebrate its 10th anniversary this year.
TEA is a catalyst. Since its inception, TEA has accomplished a great deal. From projects such as the building of the Stoneman Playground to the establishment of enriching park programs for all ages, TEA enhances the experience for all park visitors, as well as the health of the park itself.
Over these last ten years, TEA has helped drive more than $8 million in park improvement projects including, most recently, the historic planting of 10 willow trees, the first in more than 50 years. But this is just the beginning; there is still much more to do.
TEA is an advocate. Being just one of the more than 150 properties managed by the DCR, the Charles River Esplanade needs its fans to give voice to the park’s unique history and pleasures, as well as its issues and challenges.
After the state launched its massive plan to restore the Longfellow Bridge, TEA demonstrated both the importance and feasibility of improved connections to the parkland on both sides of the river. The advocacy worked.
“During the Longfellow Bridge planning process, The Esplanade Association’s advocacy was transformational,” State Rep. Marty Walz said. “Thanks to TEA, the parkland and its pedestrian connections to Charles Circle will be far better than originally planned by the state.”
TEA has fun. Since 2001, TEA’s full docket of free programs, including yoga, dancing, children’s games and other family friendly activities, has encouraged health and fitness and provided an enriching outdoor experience.
This coming summer, in celebration of its 10th anniversary, TEA will greatly expand free program offerings to include weekly kickboxing, Zumba, Boot Camp and walking and running clubs, as well as a monthly Sunday Fun in the Park community day to encourage active, outdoor play with a variety of programs for both children and adults.
TEA is forward thinking. To better care for the future of this 100 year-old park, TEA mobilized the community to forge Esplanade 2020, a shared vision for the park’s revitalization and enhanced maintenance. Esplanade 2020 enables TEA to prioritize work to restore the Esplanade’s landscape and features and return it to a world-class park.
One of the first projects will be started this spring. TEA is working with the DCR to re-landscape and revitalize the Charles Eliot Memorial, an important and popular gathering spot abutting Community Boating. By tackling the problems of severely compacted soil, invasive plants and creating a more attractive and user-friendly place with beautiful river views, this landscape demonstration project will provide valuable information for better planning, planting, programming and maintenance throughout the whole park.
The organization’s 10th Annual Meeting on Thursday, May 19, with the keynote address by DCR Commissioner Edward M. Lambert Jr. The meeting and the 10th Anniversary Party on Friday, November 4, are great ways for everyone to commemorate TEA’s important milestone and celebrate the Esplanade.
“I am pleased to celebrate The Esplanade Association’s 10th anniversary and happy to have inherited such a strong partnership,” Lambert said. “DCR looks forward to maintaining this important relationship as it ensures that the Esplanade continues its dual role as a world-renowned urban landscape and neighborhood park.”
To learn more about TEA, visit www.esplanadeassociation.org or call 617-227-0365.
To attend the May 18 annual meeting, R.S.V.P. to Chris at 617-227-0365.