In a series of continued projects in the Brighton area, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino announced the official opening of Brighton Common on Thursday.
Jacquelyn Goddard, spokeswoman for the Parks Department of Boston, said the Brighton Common features a wooden steel pergola and a new seating area.
“This is a very dense area in the neighborhood of Brighton,” she said. “It is a neighborhood where most people don’t have a yard, so this particular property, although it’s fairly small, is a very important site for the people who live in the area.”
Goddard said the park before it was redeveloped was an inactive area that most residents would pass through, but never spend time in.
“It [the park] had a small area with a basketball court, a small green space and a sitting area with benches and flowers,” she said. “We felt the design was sort of half-hazard … [and] outdated for the people living in the neighborhood at this time, so we recreated the site to have more of a seven day use, a place that would be used by many different ages for many different purposes.”
New Balance broke ground on Sept. 23 to build their new world headquarters in the Allston-Brighton area, which will include workout facilities and additional T stations.
“We kept a lot of the lawn area, but we took the basketball court out and in place of it, we installed that wooden steel pergola,” Goddard said. “That’s basically a small stage area that can be used for dancing, for small concerts and for rallies or speeches, so it’s sort of like a multi-use focal point for that park site.”
The design budget for the park was $139,175 and was funded by the Edward Ingersoll Browne Fund, the Harold Whitworth Pierce Charitable Trust and Menino’s Capital Improvement Program. The Fund for Parks and Recreation helped fund the construction budget of $710,000, according to an Oct. 16 press release from the Parks and Recreation Department.
“Approximately every year since he [Menino] has been mayor, the Boston Parks Department has on average undertaken anywhere from 15 to 20 major capital projects in city of Boston,” Goddard said. “During some of that time, the economy was very poor, but despite those budgetary problems, the mayor still invested in maintenance and new construction in parks.”
She said Menino’s commitment to Boston parks has transformed communities in Boston for the better.
“He realizes that the park is the front yard for a lot of people who live in the city,” Goddard said. “Parks are essential to whether or not a neighborhood will thrive. They are community gathering spaces, they are a place for relaxation and recreation for the people of a neighborhood, so they are extremely important to the health and well being of people who live in the city.”
Some residents said the park was an improvement for their neighborhood.
Don Martin, 32, a resident of Brighton, said he is enjoying the park and saw a lot of potential in the pergola.
“It’s a lot more appealing and a lot more attractive than it was before,” he said. “It wasn’t very nice and kind of run down before the idea to make it a common ever started up. I personally love the stage and already thinking about using it. It’s much prettier. It’s definitely an improvement.”
Poonvilai Tae, 63, resident of Brighton, said there are many benefits to the improved space, but also some negative aspects.
“It’s a good thing and bad thing together,” she said. “The good is people all over can enjoy it. The bad is that people might get very noisy, which those around here would not enjoy. It’s mostly a good thing though, this place could really use it.”
John Speck, 25, resident of Brighton, said the upgraded park could spark many other improvements in the neighborhood of Brighton.
“There aren’t a lot of places like this,” he said. “It’s hard to find a place that has this kind of community space and it’s really good for this area. When you have a place for community events, a lot follows. Raising interest in the area can make businesses pop up, liven up the community, and do a lot more. For a place so small, it has a lot of potential for Brighton.”