Our city’s largest park is next in line for some major changes.
Franklin Park, one of many local landmarks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, is a green space connecting the Roxbury, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan + Roslindale neighborhoods. It’s a massive 527-acre space — more than 20 times the size of the Boston Public Garden.
Despite its size and community importance, Franklin Park hasn’t seen any significant financial investments in decades. Now, thanks to a three-year long planning process with the city, the Franklin Park Coalition + community members, there is a detailed vision plan for enhancing the park.
By the numbers:
- $23 million: The capital investment going towards the project.
- $5 million: The amount in a trust created in 2018 to help cover park maintenance expenses.
- 8,000+ people: The number of community members who made their voices heard and provided feedback for the plan.
The plan priorities:
- Restore and activate the Bear Dens, which are old bear cages from the Franklin Park Zoo, with new uses.
- Rebuild the historic Elma Lewis Playhouse with a new stage, restrooms + seating.
- Welcome visitors with a “front porch” for the Blue Hill Avenue entrance at Peabody Circle.
We can also expect upgraded trails, play areas, athletic fields, and picnic sites.
Construction on the park’s fresh new look is expected to start in 2024, though a project of this size can’t be built in a day. It will take years to implement the changes, and next steps include stabilizing historic ruins, assessing the tree inventory, and creating a park-wide ecological management plan.