The Esplanade Association and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will celebrate the opening of the newly restored Hatch Shell Oval Lawn on the Charles River Esplanade on Friday, June 19, at 11 a.m. The ceremonial ribbon will be cut by the DCR Commissioner Carol Sanchez accompanied by Tani Marinovich, executive director of the Esplanade Association.
The historic restoration was made possible by an initial gift from Santander, which donated $100,000 to kick off the capital campaign to fully restore the Hatch Shell area in September of 2013. This first phase of the larger Hatch Shell project to restore the Oval Lawn, which cost an estimated $700,000, was 100-percent privately funded through money raised by the Esplanade Association.
“With the trees and flowers in full bloom along the Esplanade and just in time for the Fourth of July we are thrilled to be able to reopen the Hatch Shell Oval Lawn which is now healthier and more beautiful for the public to enjoy,” Marinovich said. “We are truly grateful to Santander and all the Esplanade Association donors for their generosity as well as for the ongoing support of the DCR. This renovation was a great undertaking yet it is proof positive of the great things that can be accomplished through public-private partnerships.”
The Hatch Shell is the iconic Boston landmark that unites and enriches the Boston community with vital arts, culture, and much needed green space. The oval lawn in front of the Hatch Shell has long been home to some of the city’s most well-attended, and often free, concerts and performances, and for decades has served as the prime seating area for the annual Fourth of July fireworks display. Over the years, constant exposure and overuse had placed a toll on the Hatch Shell structure and surrounding area. In response to the pressing need to restore and repair this vital area in the Esplanade Association raised the funds and in partnership with the DCR began the work in the fall of 2013 to overhaul the Hatch Shell grounds including renovations of the Hatch Shell Oval Lawn. The extensive project was then completed in just 18 months despite the record-breaking snow.
The restorations included Hatch Shell Oval Lawn being recomposed with a uniform drainage system that appropriately protects the groundwater table beneath it, and an environmentally responsible state of the art irrigation system that will provide much needed water both to the new, high-use turf and to the soil to help it resist compaction. In addition, electrical and mechanical conduit hooks were installed to improve and modernize infrastructure for music and video performances.
This marks the completion of the first phase of the $4 million capital campaign to fund the restoration of the DCR Hatch Memorial Shell Area on the Charles River Esplanade. The restoration project is occurring in three phases with the next projects to include modernizing its sound and lighting systems and enhance and rebuild its structural elements in conjunction with the DCR.