The first design and construction phase of the project to revitalize Whittemore Park is expected to start this spring in Arlington, reports Patch, a YourArlington partner.
The project aims to transform the space at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Mystic Street into a "focal point" for recreation and civic functions.
This phase includes renovations to the portion of the park in front of the Jefferson Cutter House, including the creation of a circuit path, removal of trees and new planting, renovations to the rail corridor and improvements to the central lawn.
The project's second phase, which will provide new accessible pathways to the front and rear doors of the Jefferson Cutter House, as well as improvements to the rear stairway, is expected to begin this summer. The existing side garden will be removed and replaced by a new garden, including a new granite retaining wall and wooden board fence.
The project will transform the small green space at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Mystic Street into a "focal point" for recreation and civic functions, as well as a place to appreciate the town's cultural heritage.
Reported in 2018
The town Department of Planning and Community Development has shared its final recommendations for Whittemore Park from Crowley Cottrell LLC, the project designer, as presented at the June 20, 2018, forum at Town Hall.
Two options for Whittemore Park were presented based on the following design goals: enhance small and large gathering opportunities, improve and provide more types of seating, preserve railroad tracks and improve interpretation, and balance tree preservation with a healthy lawn.
Throughout this spring, the department and consultant sought input about the park design from the community, a June 21 news release says. The public process began with a community open house on April 9. At that meeting, leaders shared information about the park’s history, assets and challenges, as well as the current trees in the park.
Public process outlined
Whittemore Park is the green space at Mass. Ave. and Mystic Street in front of the Jefferson Cutter House, home of the Dallin Museum and the Chamber of Commerce.
Planners reported they gained feedback about the types of amenities people are seeking in the park. An online survey received more than 500 individual responses.
At a second forum, on May 17, three design options were presented. Finally, a “Design Day” was held June 13 in Whittemore Park. Attendees were able to visit three stations to see and respond to the proposed designs. Proposed elements were marked on the ground with construction flags and paint.
Over the summer, Crowley Cottrell plans to take the feedback received on the two final design options and create a final design plan for future funding opportunities. Along with a final plan, Crowley Cottrell will also prepare cost estimates and develop a potential construction schedule.
This project, supported by $65,000 in Community Preservation Act funds, builds on momentum generated by past projects aimed at transforming the park into a focal point for recreation and civic functions, as well as a place to appreciate Arlington’s cultural heritage.
Crowley Cottrell was supported by a working group composed of representatives from the Historical Commission, Historic Districts Commission, Dallin Museum, Chamber of Commerce, Cutter Gallery, as well as property and business owners in Arlington Center and professional landscape architecture services by Michelle Crowley Landscape Architecture.
The town hired the firm in February to develop recommendations and design plans for the park. The firm's contract is for $56,470. The Boston-based, certified women-owned business enterprise has professional landscape-architecture licenses in Massachusetts, New York and Vermont. They are also LEED AP.
"We anticipate using a portion of CPA funds on a more detailed site survey," town Planning Director Jenny Raitt wrote March 26, in response to a YourArlington question about contract costs.
For more information about this project, contact Raitt at 781-316-3092 or jraitt[@]town.arlington.ma.us, or go to www.arlingtonma.gov/departments/planning-community-development.
This news summary was published Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021.
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