Library Park will be the recipient of two installations of 'light wells' later this spring, a form of public art that includes plantings and LED-lit structures that also serve the environmentally important function capturing and infiltrating rainwater into the park's soil to help create a more sustainable landscape. According to the creative team, led by assistant professor in architecture and urban planning at Northeastern University, Michelle Laboy, the light wells combine art, a seat, a planter, a light fixture, and a vegetated dry well for storm-water infiltration. It is powered by solar LED light that will illuminate the structure at night with the energy it collects during the day. The light wells measure about six feet long by five feet wide. Library staff and neighborhood association board members were approached for this installation by City Hall's New Urban Mechanics group in February, which ran an open design competition last year to improve small public spaces with projects costing less than $5,000. The Light Well project lends itself well to small parks in areas with groundwater recharge issues, according to Kris Carter, from the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics. The group, which included the Parks Department's chief landscape architect Liza Meyer, met with library staff, a member of the library Friends group, and the Rutland Square Association during the winter, after which it was decided to install two light wells inside Library Park: one near the corner of the library building and the alley behind it; the other on the opposite side of the park, close to the intersection of Rutland Square and Tremont Street.
James Hohmann, of Mahoney's Garden Center, who last year generously planted perennials and grasses in three areas of Library Park as part of the South End Garden Tour, has agreed to work with the Light Well design team to provide additional plantings appropriate for the installations. The expected date of the project's completion is sometime in June, around the time of this year's South End Garden Tour.