Harambee Park Master Plan
Weston & Sampson provided master planning services to examine the full extents of Harambee Park in Dorchester. Originally called Franklin Field, this site was the designated location for all “active recreation” by Frederick Law Olmstead as nearby Franklin Park was to be reserved for largely passive recreational pursuits. One of BPRD’s largest open space assets, programmed activities at Harambee Park include an accessible playground, basketball courts, a netball court, two soccer/lacrosse fields, two cricket pitches, tennis courts, a football field, and two little league fields. Its vast open space is uninterrupted by any vertical presence throughout most of the site’s 44 acres.
To make the best use of this park, an overall circulation, lighting, and vegetation strategy was developed. Meetings with BPRD representatives and community stakeholders confirmed that the existing sports fields were to not only remain, but they required improvement, relocation, better orientation, updated lighting, and seating. Further, there was enough demand to necessitate two areas with neighborhood park/playground facilities, one at either end of the park. These facilities included children’s playgrounds, a splash pad, basketball courts, seating areas, and shade accommodations.
As part of our work for this project, we also performed an inventory and analysis of all park features, elements, and infrastructure; identified deficiencies and safety hazards; collected all testing, soils, and survey data; conducted a circulation analysis (pedestrian and vehicular) and made recommendations for pathways, parking, and access/entries; provided an athletic facilities assessment, including recommended additions and/or modifications; made general park development recommendations for site amenities, recreational opportunities, passive areas, and other park uses; compiled recommendations for vegetation enhancement and management; and provided a detailed construction cost estimate for the final recommended improvements.
The first phase implementation of a multi-phased master plan, opened in fall 2018, includes a universally accessible landform with a bridge and tower play structure, embankment slides, climbing nets, splashpad water features, and swings. Other new features include two basketball courts with LED lighting, a workout area, seating, lighting on pedestrian pathways, and improved entrances from Blue Hill and Talbot Avenues.