Esplanade Playspace Moves One Step Closer to Reality

-By Dan Murphy

City Councilor Mike Ross addresses the crowd as State Rep. Marty Walz and Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Edward M. Lambert Jr. look on.

Friends of the Esplanade Playspace President Tani Marinovich and Department of Conservation and Recreation Director of Partnerships Conrad Crawford display a model of a climbing structure designed for the playground.

A dream that began two years ago came one step closer to reality Thursday at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Esplanade Playspace.

“You guys are the reason we did this, so you can play on one of the greatest playgrounds that’s ever been built,” said Tani Marinovich, president of the nonprofit Friends of the Esplanade Playspace, to the children in attendance at the event.

In late 2009, the fledgling Friends group hatched its plan to build an approximately 10,000 square-foot playground for 5- to 12-year-olds on state park, located a short distance from the Arthur Fiedler Footbridge near the Hatch Shell café.

Since that time, the group has raised $1.2 million through private donations, including matching grants from the Highland Street Foundation and the Lynch Foundation, and hired Boston’s Halverson Design Partnership as the architect. Construction is scheduled to get underway in July and be completed in the fall.

Besides Marinovich, other speakers at last week’s ceremony included Blake Jordan of the Highland Foundation; State Rep. Marty Walz; City Councilor Mike Ross; and Edward M. Lambert Jr., commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

“We look forward to a when the children here today and of future generations can enjoy quality recreation at this site,” Lambert said.

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