Tuesday, November 7, 2007
The Boston Globe
Globe Editorial

TO APPRECIATE the two parks that were formally opened in the North End this week, residents should remember what it was like to cross through here a few years ago. A pedestrian had to endure the looming shadow of the Central Artery, skirt a dingy parking lot, and brave a highway crossing clogged with cars exiting the Sumner Tunnel.

Yet thousands of people make this foot trip every day, and now they are greeted by a choice of crossings to Hanover, Salem, or North streets, two swaths of lawns, a perennial garden that changes color with the season, two fountains, and a porch-like linear plaza filled with tables and chairs available for a quick rest or a quiet conversation. Traffic from the tunnel is safely underground. In this section of Boston, the depression of the Central Artery was unambiguously worth the expense and difficulties of construction.

These wonderful parks are a tribute to the designers, the local firm Crosby Schlessinger Smallridge and Seattle-based Gustafson, Guthrie and Nichol; McCourt Construction, which built them; the hundreds of neighbors who offered suggestions; and the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, which supervised the project.

The parks show government at its best, so it was to be expected that public officials would be there: Senator Edward Kennedy (with his two dogs), Governor Deval Patrick, and Mayor Thomas Menino among them. “What a glorious day in the city of Boston,” the mayor exulted.

And yet, even though the parks connect downtown Boston to the North End, they are not owned by the city, but by the Turnpike Authority, which will maintain them until the nonprofit Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy assumes that responsibility in the undetermined future. The Turnpike Authority is a transportation agency, not a parks manager. It is no surprise that park watchers already are noticing that the greenery is starting to show wear.

The North End parks and the other green spaces above the artery will be heavily used and require a level of expertise that the conservancy is working hard to develop. But the Turnpike Authority should not be distracted from its transportation mission. Sooner rather than later, this great series of Boston parks should be owned by the city.

Park praised as the new “front porch” of the North End.

Boston, Mass., November 6, 2007 – The new North End Park of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway was formally opened Monday during a sunsplashed event held at the park. The three-acre parcel was recently completed by McCourt Construction, and features extensive landscaping, stonework, fountains, pergolas, pathways, and seating areas. The ribbon cutting was a VIPladen event with attendees including Governor Deval Patrick, Senator Ted Kennedy, Mayor Thomas Menino, as well as representatives from McCourt and
the design team, among others.

A State brochure given out at the event credited general contractor McCourt Construction and the design team of Crosby Shlessinger Smallridge and Gustafson Guthrie Nichol for creating a “sun-splashed link between the North End and the rest of the city.” The brochure also recognized the three acres of open space for their important location as a “hinge point” between Quincy Market, Government Center, Haymarket and the North End.

The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway is a series of parks cutting through downtown Boston. The 15 acres of new public parkland was created when the “Big Dig” plunged previously elevated roadways underground.

About McCourt
McCourt Construction is a comprehensive general contractor that was founded in 1893. The company has worked extensively in both the public and private sectors, developing an expertise in infrastructure projects, real estate development, site work, landscaping, utilities, and finish work. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, McCourt has taken on projects from California to London, from Canada to the Caribbean.