Grimmons Park Splashpad
Boston Society of Landscape Architects 2011 Merit Award in Design
As identified early in the community outreach process, site security was of utmost concern. The design team spent considerable time at the site during both day and evening hours to better understand how the site was used in order to develop a design that would meet community needs within a renovation budget of $725,000. It was clear that the imposing walls that reached 15- 20’ high on the northern and eastern property lines, coupled with minimal night site lighting, created a dark, difficult to access area that was virtually hidden from the street, making it ideal for concealing debauchery. The new park design focused on creating clear and well-lit site lines and circulation and the establishment of a secondary park entrance that would allow residents direct access to the park from either Governor Winthrop or Puritan Road. The new entrance would serve to encourage ‘cut-through’ foot traffic that could dramatically improve site security and decrease the site’s appeal as a late night hang out and venue for inappropriate behavior.
Maximizes recreational area - At half an acre, Grimmons offers play structures for 0-5 and 5-12 year olds, swings, water spray, lawn, seating, basketball, tennis practice backboard, "funnelball", and a climbing wall that has been integrated into the new concrete staircase that links to Puritan Road. Kids can ride a bike around the park, and every inch of space was considered for its active recreational potential.
Facilitates focus on multigenerational use There are play features for babies and older kids; a tennis backboard / basketball court amenity for teens and adults; and all ages make use of the lawn, climbing wall, water spray area and the seating/cafe tables that occupy a comfortable space set off from the higher activity zones.
Improves park access and internal circulation The design inspiration at Grimmons was to introduce a secondary park entrance from Puritan Road. Neighbors requested lighting throughout the park, and the design was intended to eliminate the "dark and remote corners" of the past and keep users circulating throughout the space. The color palette adds to the fun nature of this park, where activity zones flow organically and seamlessly into each other.
Honors local history - The Grimmons School Arch was seen as a focal point of the park, and a timeline of flush bronze plaques and radial lines was created to convey the unique historical aspects of Ten Hills with origins that date to the founding of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. In addition, the integral circle operates as a sundial with the shadow of the arch rotating from the beginning to the end of the timeline as a day progresses.
Employs sustainable practices - Permeable surfaces (lawn and the planting beds) recharge stormwater into the ground. The water from the spray pad is captured and infiltrated into surrounding planting beds with overflows for major storm events. Special focus was placed on selecting native plant materials and diversity of species. The tree palette includes native trees that are rare to urban parks, such as Yellowwood and Sweetgum. Groundcover and shrubs will fill in to buffer areas designed for rest and socializing, two other important aspects of this community park.