Offshoots, Inc, worked with the Mystic River Watershed Association to complete a schematic design and revitalization plan for the Blessing of the Bay Park along the Mystic River in Somerville. The Blessing of the Bay Park is important open space in Somerville and part of the Mystic River Reservation – a 10 mile, 370-acre linear park system. Community feedback revealed that this park is underutilized due to limited views and access to the river’s edge, deteriorating infrastructure and a lack of amenities.
Through public meetings, surveys, onsite and door to door engagement, the theme of the new park design was crafted: ‘Bringing Nature to our Neighborhood’. The vision is for a new passive, natural, low-maintenance riverfront park. Along with the intension of building a new boathouse, new docks, new trails and new picnic areas, the project has seven goals:
- Expand Passive, active recreational opportunities
- Improve Ecological Health of Shoreline + Natural spaces
- Promote active transportation within ex. Greenway network
- Complete community-driven vision and design for the park
- Engage diverse community members + stakeholder organizations in creating the park plan
- Build relationships between DCR, City of Somerville, and local nonprofits to ensure long-term success
- Catalyze a larger vision + investment in Mystic River Parklands and Somerville & Medford path systems
The design encourages a balance between cultural goals and ecological goals, citing great opportunities for overlapping education and growth. Designs include walking and biking amenities, river amenities, access to nature and wildlife, site improvements, gathering spaces, play areas, public art installations, signage & wayfinding, and additional parking.
Client: Mystic River Watershed Association in Partnership with: Groundwork Somerville, Lawrence and Lillian Solomon Foundation, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, the City of Somerville, and the Mystic River Housing Development.
Engineer: Horsley Witten Group