Residents this week got their first look at a public park that city officials are calling “the heart of Quincy Center.”
To be called Adams Green, the new public space would close the part of Hancock Street that runs in front of City Hall and create a pedestrian mall connecting the Church of the Presidents, the Old City Hall and new City Hall buildings, the Hancock Cemetery, the current City Hall Plaza, and the entrance to the Quincy Center T station.
City officials said the center’s current busy traffic pattern isolates the historic Church of the Presidents (where presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams are buried in crypts), turning an historic attraction into a traffic island.
In addition to making the city center’s chief historic sites more accessible to pedestrians, the new park is intended offer the city a traditional New England “green” designed for celebrations, fairs, and concerts as well as for relaxing on park benches.
The preliminary drawings offered by Halvorson Design Partnership on Wednesday also included a soft-paved “plaza” for booths, pushcarts, tables or folding chairs for outdoor programs.
Halvorson Design, the firm responsible for Boston’s popular Post Office Square, City Square park in Charlestown, and other high-profile public spaces, was awarded the design contract for the park earlier this year.
Company president Craig Halvorson unveiled the first conceptual drawings at a public gathering at City Hall to let residents know what the architects are thinking and gather comment and reaction.
Halvorson said few city downtowns have the history Quincy can offer visitors.
Quincy Planning Director Dennis Harrington said the design process for the Adams Green would take about a year. The main issue is getting the plans approved by the federal government, which has earmarked $6 million for the project.