Today, Mayor Stephanie M. Burke broke ground on the Riverside Ave. Plaza, which will become the new hub for arts, entertainment and a relaxing spot to stop and enjoy lunch. The new park will enhance passive recreation, cultural activities and provide a gathering space for public events in the heart of Medford Square.
The park, which abuts the Old Salem Street Burying Grounds, will feature views of surrounding landmarks as well as connections into the cemetery effectively merging the two together through pathways into an urban oasis. Revitalizing this 9,683-square foot space will serve as a key step in our continuous efforts to enhance Medford Square.
“This open space is our version of a common for the City,” said Mayor Burke. “Our goal is to have this be a gathering place for performances, arts and offers a unique way for residents to connect with pathways along the Mystic River, while spending time in our historic square.”
The design of the project will include the removal of the former bus shelter and transforming the area into a spacious, multi-level area. This space will be a fully handicap accessible park with new tree and low level plantings, seating and picnic areas, enhanced lighting, accommodating pavement for passive recreation and space suitable for events and more.
In addition, there will be signage throughout the park that will link visitors to the open space areas along the Mystic River, providing direction to walking and biking routes connecting to surrounding open spaces as well as sites of historic and cultural interest throughout the City.
Construction for necessary improvements of this space will cost $749,900.00 and funding has been awarded through a Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund Grant, State Chapter 90 Funds and City Linkage Funds. The contractor, Virgilio Construction, Inc. began construction this week at the new park site and the designer of the project plans is Crosby Slessinger Smallridge. We anticipate the project will be completed in the Spring of 2018 and will be overseen by the Office of Community Development and Engineering.