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Push for new park in South Boston still on the table

Posted by Patrick Rosso  January 16, 2014 12:31 PM

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(Patrick D. Rosso/Boston.com/2014)


Looking towards West 2nd Street, the parcels, and the vacant Public Works Department structure.

The push for a new park in South Boston has not been forgotten, Sheila Dillon, the director of the city's Department of Neighborhood Development, recently told Boston.com.

For the past year residents of South Boston have been advocating for green space on two vacant abutting lots between West 1st and West 2nd St..

Advocates have said that with all the development in the neighborhood, more green space is a necessity.

The lots in question are at 174 West 2nd St. and 179 West 1st St., which are vacant except for an empty Public Works Department building on the 2nd Street parcel.

“Right now, plans seem to lean toward West 2nd Street being a passive park with West 1st Street more of a community garden, with both integrated,” said Dillon, who was appointed by Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

A community meeting to begin the process of coming up with a design for the properties is expected to be held sometime in February.

“The next step is to get the Parks Department to join the conversation and assign a landscape designer to help begin the design for the West 2nd Street lot,” Dillon said. “We have also briefed the Mayor [Martin J. Walsh] and will keep him in the loop.”

The biggest challenge for the project will be finding the money.

The West 1st St. side, anticipated to be more of a community garden, will be able to use funds from the Department of Neighborhood Development’s Grassroots Fund, which is specifically set aside for the development of community gardens.

Money for the West 2nd Street side, however, will most likely have to come from the city’s tight capital budget.

Although the effort is expected to take some time, Dillon said it’s the passion in the neighborhood that has made the project what it is and kept it alive.

“In every neighborhood people feel passionate about what the city does with our land and this is a great example,” Dillon said. “We first went out with our own ideas and were convinced to go with a more open space proposal.”

To read more about a design meeting recently held by the community, click here.

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Email Patrick D. Rosso, patrick.d.rosso@gmail.com. Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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