Prior to the implementation of this renovation, the lower terrace of the Ceylon Street Playground consisted of a multi-use playing field and a small children’s play area. It was an integral part of many neighbors daily walk to the train, work, or school. When Weston & Sampson was hired to design this renovation project, it was clear from both the site analysis and community process that the children’s play area was underutilized and not serving the community at a high level. The field, on the other hand, was always in use by either organized sports leagues who obtained permits or through informal play during unscheduled times. The design challenge that emerged was how to maximize the areas adjacent to the field to best serve the neighborhood while upgrading the field to withstand the intense use.
The landscape architects at Weston & Sampson worked very closely with the Boston Parks and Recreation Department staff throughout the design process. The final design was a true collaboration between designer and client. The field was upgraded from natural grass to artificial turf with a carefully engineered sub-surface drainage system that moves stormwater away from the playing surface quickly then detains the water to allow for infiltration back into the ground. The space previously occupied by the children’s play area was completely redesigned to include both a passive gathering area for community events as well as an interactive play space that includes both wet and dry play elements for a wide range of age groups. Using the site’s sloping terrain, this area has been transformed into a dynamic multi-use space that serves the community effectively while maintaining important pedestrian connections to the surrounding neighborhood.