Visitors to the Charles River Esplanade can expect to see a revitalized and better maintained landscape around Eliot Memorial, next to Community Boating, this fall thanks to recent grants from the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Partnership Grant Program, Porpoise Fund, Lawrence and Lillian Solomon Fund and Garden Club of the Back Bay, as well as gifts from individuals.
The Esplanade Association (TEA) has been working closely with DCR project managers, a working committee of volunteers, and Halvorson Design to plan and design improvements to this popular area of the Esplanade.
“We are counting on the support of everyone who loves this park to help us raise the remaining $50,000 needed to turn this worn out area into a beautiful gathering spot with the addition of trees and shrubs, circular benches, granite curbing and a repaired Founder’s Overlook with magnificent views of the river and Boston skyline,” stated Sylvia Salas, executive director of The Esplanade Association.
The revitalization effort will improve the ecology of the area’s trees, shrubs and lawn, improve the entrance to Community Boating and draw attention to the Charles Eliot Monument and the story of the Metropolitan Park System.
A volunteer committee of landscapers, horticulturists and other professionals, led by TEA’s project manager Jessica Pederson and board members Margaret Pokorny and Herb Nolan, has spent nearly a year planning and promoting the project. Recently, on Arbor Day, Maltby & Company donated labor and equipment to remove diseased or hazardous trees from the site and prune area trees in preparation for the work that will begin mid-summer.
In addition, Equity Residential donated labor, equipment and materials to spruce up the areas near the Eliot Memorial by aerating and re-seeding soil, removing invasive shoreline plants, cleaning and painting benches, and building compost bins behind the Lee Pool building. The compost bins will be used by The Esplanade Association and DCR in their efforts to make the park greener and more sustainable.
Maintenance and sustainability are high priorities for TEA and DCR. As a result, TEA recently hired a horticulturist to help maintain to a higher standard the planting beds at the park, including the Eliot Memorial. The Eliot Memorial landscape revitalization is the first Esplanade 2020 vision project and follows on recent efforts to improve the park’s landscape with the planting of ten willow trees last year and the pruning of hundreds of trees located between the Longfellow Bridge and the Lotta Fountain. The Eliot Memorial revitalization will serve as a landscape demonstration for Esplanade landscape restoration and enhanced maintenance.