Special to the Times
In a continued effort to revitalize the New Charles River Basin area, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) joined EF Education First (EF) on Wednesday, Aug. 13, to celebrate the completion of new tennis and basketball courts at the agency’s North Point Park in the City of Cambridge.
The $2.2 million project, known as the Viaduct Courts, was completed in partnership with EF and will provide residents and visitors with new outdoor recreational attractions that support a healthy, active lifestyle.
“The new Viaduct Courts are an important urban recreation center for visitors of the New Charles River Basin and the City of Cambridge,” said DCR Commissioner Leo Roy. “The Baker-Polito Administration is proud to hold strong public-private partnerships with organizations like EF that continue to support park improvements, encouraging residents and visitors to get outdoors and find themselves in a DCR park.”
Details of the courts include: the full remediation of the site; the creation of a combined tennis and half basketball court; the installation of lighting; the creation of new approaches to the courts; and the installation of associated site amenities, such as benches, and landscaping.
“The Viaduct Courts are the latest example of how our partnership with the Department of Conservation and Recreation continues to create beautiful public spaces to benefit residents of Cambridge and Boston as well as our staff and students of the Hult International Business School,” said Martha Doyle, chief operating officer of EF Properties. “The courts are part of two-plus acres of new public recreational amenities debuting this fall as part of EF’s ongoing expansion in East Cambridge. We are honored to continue collaborating with DCR, and to be playing a small part in the revitalization of Cambridge’s North Point neighborhood.”
Completion of the Viaduct Courts at North Point Park is part of the continued mitigation effort for the Leverett Circle Bridge and the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge Central Artery/Tunnel Project. The park is part of the New Charles River Basin, an eight-acre park extending from the Charles River commuter rail bridges to the Monsignor O’Brien Highway that includes North Point Park and Paul Revere Park. Construction of North Point Park was completed in 2007, and included a $32 million remediation of the site. North Point Park includes a pedestrian path along the water’s edge, a tree-shaded bikeway, and playground.
“The Viaduct Courts are a fantastic addition to the neighborhood and yet another step taken to create more welcoming outdoor spaces for our residents. I encourage everyone to take advantage of this new addition to North Point Park, and I would like to thank Education First for their longstanding commitment to giving back to our community and DCR for their ongoing work to revitalize this area for Cambridge and Boston residents alike,” said State Sen. Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett).
“The Viaduct Courts at North Point Park rejuvenates the new Charles River Basin area, promotes urban green space and is essential to the long term sustainability of the City of Cambridge,” said State Sen. Joseph Boncore (D-Winthrop).
In 2012, DCR and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) completed the 690-foot North Bank Bridge connecting DCR’s North Point Park to DCR’s Paul Revere Park. The $26 million pedestrian bridge provides a critical off-road trail connecting Cambridge and Charlestown. In addition, North Point Park is the location of the $4.5 million Lynch Family Skatepark, made possible by generous contributions by the Lynch Foundation. The first large-scale skate park in New England, the project was planned for a decade across three gubernatorial administrations and completed under the Baker-Polito Administration in 2015.
“I am look forward to the community taking advantage of this latest amenity at North Point. I thank DCR and Education First for their partnership that made this happen. North Point continues to be transformed into a vibrant corner of Cambridge because of the work of DCR, park advocates, EF, and many others working together to make a difference,” said State Rep. Jay Livingstone (D-Boston).
“I am pleased to see the completion of the Viaduct Courts project and appreciate the work of conservation advocates and local residents in helping to negotiate for these new amenities in partnership with DCR and EF. Moving forward, I will continue advocating for additional plantings to mitigate the impact of near-roadway traffic pollution from the northwest and southwest sides of the facility,” said State Rep. Mike Connolly (D-Cambridge).