When Mayor Menino visited Spaulding Hospital’s brand-new state-of-the-art rehabilitation facility at Charlestown Navy Yard in early 2013, he saw potential in the vacant waterfront land that lay next door. No less, he hoped that a fully accessible playground and park would be in place by the end of his term in November. In order to meet the challenge of designing and constructing a park within just three short months, the Boston Redevelopment Authority enlisted the support of Weston & Sampson’s design studio. Boston’s newest waterfront park is a dramatic open space resource designed as a place of recovery from health challenges and respite from the daily rigor of urban life. Much of the design inspiration drew from the park’s history as the Navy Yard’s first shipbuilding dry dock built during World War II.
At the time, the dry dock’s construction required that the Navy Yard expand beyond the existing pier and bulkhead line. Granite blocks that once held back seawater now form the battened walls of Mayor Thomas M. Menino Park’s playground, which not only provides seating, but creates elevated lawns and viewing decks oriented to capture the splendor of Boston’s working waterfront and stunning downtown skyline. Most importantly, innumerable opportunities for active play, physical therapy, and exercise for all generations are incorporated into the park. The park also includes an accessible harborwalk with spectacular views of the city and the water.
The finished park is intended to honor those focused on perseverance, renewal, recovery, awakening, and revival. Phase I of Mayor Thomas M. Menino Park opened to the public on November 4, 2013.