Parks We Love: Martin’s Park, an inclusive children’s playspace, opens along the South Boston waterfront
The One Waterfront team had an opportunity to attend the opening of Martin’s Park, a dynamic and inclusive children’s park located in South Boston along Fort Point Channel at the Smith Family Waterfront.
Built to honor the memory of the Boston Marathon bombing’s youngest victim Martin Richard, the park offers a mix of creative playspaces situated among more than 1,000 trees and shrubs, approximately 9,400 ground cover plantings, and more than 4,000 white daffodils. The features include a pirate ship-shaped water garden, a climbing wall, an amphitheater, drums, embankment slides and more.
Climate-resilient features were also incorporated into the design, in a nod to the City’s Resilient Boston Harbor Strategy, with parts of the park being raised to avert flood pathways, and by reinforcing vegetated beds with stone to prevent erosion during higher tides.
The park was designed in collaboration with world-renowned landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh and built by contractor MacKay Construction. It officially opened on Saturday, June 15, with a dedication ceremony attended by Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Governor Charlie Baker, Van Valkenburg, and Martin's family.
"Over the past two years, we've witnessed the incredible transformation of Martin's Park into a world-class space for everyone in Boston to enjoy," said Mayor Walsh. "Parks are the heart and soul of our city. Martin's spirit will always be alive in Boston, and because of the work of the Richard family, countless families will come together at this park and share in the love, compassion and hope one special young boy taught us."
An example of how public and private partnerships can create transformative open space, the $15 million park was funded through hundreds of private donations, $2 million from the City of Boston and $3 million each from The Smith Family Foundation and Barr Foundation. Free, ongoing programming will be provided through an endowment from the Friends of Martin’s Park making it a sustainable new community asset in a place where our city is also threatened by sea level rise.
"We are forever grateful for the unwavering support of our donors, volunteers and city officials that have made Martin's Park possible, and we are thrilled to share this special place with everyone in the City of Boston," said Bill Richard, Martin’s father. "For us, Martin's Park is a symbol of the commitment of so many individuals and their dedication to building a more kind, just, and inclusive community here in the city that we love."
If you haven’t had a chance to visit, we encourage you to make a special trip or take a break during your work day to see this amazing new community treasure in Boston.