On Thursday, March 22, at 6:30 PM, a second public hearing at the South End library will be held to consider changes to the proposed redesign of Library Park. That design, pictured below, was presented to the South End Historic District Commission (SEHDC) on January 2 by Parks Department's project manager Lauren Bryant.
Commissioner John Amodeo expressed concerns about how to best protect the root system of an oak tree near a to-be-expanded patio between the library and the park. The Landmarks request led to a design change substantial enough that another hearing allowing the public to comment is needed, said Bryant in a phone conversation last week. Additional suggestions by Commissioner Amodeo referred to park furniture that might impinge on a easy flow of foot traffic, and how to enrich the proposed new concrete pathways. The latter could be accomplished by adding 'accents' in materials that are historically appropriate for the South End landmarks district, such as thermal bluestone, or brick, Amodeo said. An alley way between the South End's Cathedral gymnasium and high school features such improvements, enlivening an otherwise dull concrete surface.
At the first public hearing in November last year, Bryant and Brandon Kunkel, landscape architect with the Weston & Sampson design and engineering firm, presented attendees with three proposals for Library Park's overhaul. Two designs preserved the current layout of the park, while the third offered a different configuration. The latter was the one favored by the audience but has been altered to comply with Landmarks's comments.
After deducting the cost of design services, the remaining budget for the reconfiguration is $115,000, a small amount, which will be augmented with private fundraising efforts by the Friends of the South End Library until a more comprehensive renovation of library and park will take place in the next few years. Further information about the current project can be obtained at the Parks Department website, linked here.