Multimedia intern, Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA)
As a North Carolina native and Boston transplant, I had no idea that in the 1950s and 1960s, plans were developed for a 12-lane highway between Route 128 and Boston and Cambridge. Residents of the affected areas, including the Boston neighborhoods of Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, South End, and Back Bay, began community protests and demonstrations against the destruction of their neighborhoods by the planned highway. Responding to that passionate sentiment, Governor Francis Sargent scrapped the plans in 1969, and highway funds were used to develop mass transit, open space, and recreational facilities.
The new, relocated Orange Line and the adjacent Southwest Corridor Park opened in May 1987. The 4.7-mile, 52-acre linear Southwest Corridor park, now overseen by DCR, includes 11 tot lots, 2 spray pools, 7 basketball courts, 5 tennis courts, 2 street hockey rinks, 2 amphitheatres, and approximately 6 miles of biking, jogging, and walking paths.
In celebration of the park’s 20th anniversary, Southwest Corridor Park supporters held an Open Garden Day on September 12 featuring tours of the 12 community gardens adjacent to the park, children’s activities, live music, and more.
The children’s activities were wonderful; the opossum table, manned by DCR Ranger Peter Simonelli, had marsupial puppets and a pelt. The butterfly table was popular, allowing kids to make their own butterflies with coffee filters, markers, and pipe cleaners. A “Taste the Gardens” DCR Passport book let visitors get stamps at each garden they visited. There was even free food!
The award ceremony at the end of the speaking program honored community volunteers who had helped create the Southwest Corridor Park. More events are coming, such as family bike rides and a Halloween pet parade.