City, News

Construction to the Boston Public Garden fountains expected to finalize in summer

Construction to improve accessibility and restore fountains around the Boston Public Garden is expected to end this summer, marking nearly five months since its start in Sept. 2023.

Boston Public Garden. The construction around the Boston Public Garden to improve accessibility and restore fountains has been ongoing for nearly five months. HALEY ALVAREZ-LAUTO/DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

The Child Fountain Restoration Project is the last of three refurbishment projects commemorating the 50th anniversary of Friends of the Public Garden, an advocacy group for the park and surrounding area. The final project will ensure that the Public Garden is more accessible and visible to visitors, said Rebecca McKevitz, director of capital projects and parks care for the advocacy group

Friends of the Public Garden raised more than $5.3 million through community philanthropy for the three projects, including an art installation in the Common, “What do we have in Common,” and special lighting on the statues from Arlington Street to Massachusetts Avenue. $1 million was endowed to contribute to the foundation restoration.

“None of this would happen without public support,” said Lynn Page Flaherty, the vice president for advancement and external affairs at Friends of the Public Garden. “It’s really a testament to how much the community loves these parks.”

The construction mainly focuses on the historic George Washington statue and the children’s fountains, impacting the garden’s Arlington Street entrance, McKevitz said. 

“It’s a pretty significant construction project, and I think for us, one of the more sophisticated ones,” McKevitz said. 

McKevitz said that landscape buildup led the fountains to sink into the ground, making them unable to function properly.

The restoration of the Public Garden will include a new water circulation system, repavement of the pathways around the fountains and an installation of new lighting to help make the fountains more noticeable to visitors, according to Boston.com

The majority of the renovations take place 11 feet underground, such as the installation of a 30-ton concrete vault where mechanical and electrical equipment is stored, McKevitz said.

“So much of the work happens underground … it’s funny because no one ever ends up seeing it, but it’s what makes the project work,” McKevitz said.

Many steps were taken to ensure preservation in the Public Garden during the project.

“The child sculptures needed to be removed from the site, so the sculptures [and] the granite plinths that they sit on were removed by our art conservator and taken off site to his studio,” McKevitz said. “He can clean them, restore them and keep them safe and out of the way of the construction.”

The winter climate and excess precipitation occasionally halts site work, but recent warm temperatures and an approaching spring signal hope for the upcoming reinstallation of the fountains, McKevitz said. 

With the Arlington Street entrance of the park closed for construction, Flaherty said it has allowed the group to talk to the community about the renovations and garner excitement.  

Though parts of the Public Garden will look different, much will stay the same. 

“Being our nation’s first public botanical garden, it’s really meant to be sort of a place where you stroll, visit and sit and contemplate,” Flaherty said. 

Frequent visitors Michela Larson and Ed Marino shared their love for the Public Garden.

“It’s just a beautiful place to congregate,” Larson said. “They do a beautiful job of landscaping when the pond is full, [and] it’s just glorious in the summer.”

The group does not have a specific completion date, but hopes that warm weather will allow for more sitework to be done, anticipating a formal ribbon cutting ceremony this summer, when familiar pastimes such as the swan boats are set to take place starting in April.  

“It’s also fun watching the swan boats,” Marino said. “It’s nice to see people enjoying Boston.”  

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article misspelled the name of the Boston Public Garden. The updated article reflects this change.

2 Comments

  1. Campaign Outsider

    Not to get technical about it, but it’s the Public Garden.

  2. Public Garden, and Friends of the Public Garden are the proper names. Yes, there are multiple gardens in the Public Garden, but the names are singular.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*