Esplanade 20/20 & Beyond Design Team Outlines Recommendations for the Future of Park

The Esplanade 20/20 & Beyond Design Team presented its latest recommendations for the future of the state park Wednesday at a public meeting sponsored by the nonprofit WalkBoston.

“I want you think of this as a part of a participatory project because it’s a work in progress…that hasn’t been approved by The Esplanade Association yet,” Design Team member Mark Favermann said to the approximately 40 citizens in attendance at WilmerHale’s State Street offices regarding the planning process, which began approximately 18 months ago.

During its presentation, the Design Team outlined key objectives, including rejuvenating the park landscape, creating an array of activities for wide public interest, creating usable public parkland and “making it safer and easier to get to and through the Esplanade.”

The Design Team said its work also intends to complement current initiatives underway for improving the park, such as the construction of the Esplanade Playspace and restoration of the Community Boating docks, as well as the proposed footbridge from Charles Circle to the Esplanade and a plan to change Storrow Drive to a parkway.

“One of the most immediate points of opportunity is that the planning process is about to start for the Storrow Drive tunnel,” Design Team member John Shields said.

The Design Team also discussed longer-term goals, including the restoration of the “lock and dock” area to parkland, reconstruction of Commissioner’s Landing per the original design specifics, conversion of the Lee Memorial Pool to a multi-purpose water pavilion and the ultimate demolition of the Bowker Overpass to make way for a restored Charlesgate Park, among other aspirations.

‘We have to be mindful that this process is probably decades in the making,” Shields said. “Things are going to change. The key point is to hold onto the vision, but compromise when it comes time to make things happen.”

Meanwhile, Favermann said the Design Team intends to publish a report of its recommendations and make the document available online in the fall.

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