A public hearing has been scheduled for Wednesday, November 29 at 6:30 PM at the South End library by Boston Parks Department project manager, Lauren Bryant, to find out what changes you, South End residents, would like to see in Library Park. It's been a more than a decade since Library Park has seen any repairs to its infrastructure but better days may finally be ahead. In FY 2017, after several discussions between the Friends of the South End Library and Parks Commissioner Christopher Cook, Library Park received $150,000 in city capital funding to begin reprogramming and capital repairs of the green space, one of the most dilapidated in the South End.
It took a year to determine which city agency owned the park, the Boston Public Library or the Boston Department of Parks and Recreation, before plans to repair and improve the space could advance. The official owner, it was determined, is the Boston Public Library, but the Parks Department is in charge of the planned capital improvements.
Since 2007, Library Park has been largely maintained by the Friends of the South End Library, an uphill battle in the small but charming park where exhausted soil conditions and severely deteriorated pavement have made the park an attractive nuisance. Drug paraphernalia, broken liquor bottles, empty pizza cartons, condoms and soaked clothing are common evidence of inappropriate park usage. Visitors sleeping, smoking, drinking or urinating in corners are common sights as well. Friends' board members both volunteered personally and raised funds to pay someone to regularly rake leaves, pick up the trash, water plantings and shovel snow. In addition, the Friends were able to secure free contributions of plantings and landscaping by Mahoney's Garden Center in Brighton and the local landscape company, Urbgardens.
To counter the park's abandoned feel at night, the Friends welcomed the installation of the cheery LightWells, winners of the 2014 Walsh administration Public Space Invitational. The storm water filtration system, designed as a park art installation by Northeastern assistant professor Michelle Laboy and her teammates, Seth Wiseman and Joshua Fiedler, casts a continuously changing glow of colors in the park's dark corners. Programming by the Friends, moreover, including the Annual Easter Egg Hunt and the four summer Jazz and Blues concerts by Pat Loomis and his Friends also kept park usage more often than not in the positive column.
The Boston Parks Department, under the Walsh administration made a commitment to improve the Library Park over the long term. In the short term, large containers with cheerful tropical plantings brighten the park in summer.
Now is your chance to contribute your ideas to make the park the best it can be for the neighborhood. See you at the South End library on Wednesday, November 29 at 6:30 PM.