According to the Trust for Public Land, 100% of Medford homes are located within a ten-minute walk of a park. Medford has a number of parks that are maintained by both the city and state. The City maintains over 118 acres of land through the Medford Parks Division of DPW. Improvements are continuously being made to our parks by both the city and state. We will try to share any information or news that we are aware of here.
For a comprehensive overview of a number of recent park projects, check out this video recording of a Parks and Paths presentation and outreach public event held virtually on February 17th, 2021. An informational slide deck on current and recently completed projects is available here for download. There are several projects highlighted below with additional materials to review.
The Clippership Connector is located along Mystic River, between Clippership Drive and Riverside Park. This half-mile waterfront path will connect more than 10 miles of contiguous greenways and provide a safe and scenic route between Medford Square, Andrew/McGlynn Schools, and Riverbend Park.
This project is a partnership between the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) the City of Medford, the Mystic River Watershed Association, and WalkMedford through the DCR Partnership Grant Program. The DCR has hired Crosby, Schlessinger, Smallridge to do the design and engineering of this path. The first public meeting at the Andrews School on June 8th, 2017 was well attended by Medford residents. You can view the presentation from the public meeting here. You can view the presentation prepared for the January 2019 City Council meeting here.
The project has been somewhat delayed by the discovery of contaminated soil at the south end of the project, in the northern most tip of Riverbend Park. A portion of the problem area is owned by the DCR and a portion by the City of Medford, who collaborated to determine the extent of the problem and a remediation solution. Remediation of the area is complete and DCR is currently in the permit phase of the design process.
The Department of Conservation and Recreation submitted a Notice of Intent for the path to the Medford Conservation Commission. This filing is very large, but can be downloaded here (43MB). An Order of Conditions, permitting the project, has been issued.
Images from the presentation by the DCR at the Conservation Commission hearing can be downloaded here.
The design of the path was funded through a DCR 2017 Partnership Grant and Wegman’s and the Solomon Foundation each provided $23,000 to support Medford’s share of the partnership. In 2019 the city received a second DCR Partnership Grant of $70,000 to continue the design and engineering. The 2019 grant was matched by a donation from the Solomon Foundation of $35,000 and the Cummings Foundation grant.
The DCR has committed to funding the full amount of the construction costs, and they have received a Federal Land and Water Grant to support their costs.
Clippership Connector Public Meetings Information
The DCR has held three public meetings on the Clippership Connector. Please look to the previous public meeting details below or go to DCR’s website for more information on the project.
- Held on October 5th, 2020, 6:30-8:00 pm. Public Notice | Presentation
- Held on June 6th, 2019, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Public Notice | Presentation
- Held on June 8th, 2017, 7:00 p.m – 8:30 p.m. Public Notice | Presentation
If you have questions or concerns or would like to be added to a DCR email list to receive general or project-specific announcements, please email Mass.Parks@state.ma.us or call 617-626-4973.
In the spring of 2017, the City became aware of lead and arsenic at the surface of the northernmost end of Riverbend Park. The MA Department of Environmental Protection required that the area be fenced off and further testing be conducted. The City issued a statement and provided information on lead in soils, which can be read on the City’s website here.
The majority of the area is now safe for public recreation as the highest areas of mercury and lead have been removed. The fence has been removed from that portion of the park and the future Clippership Connector is being designed to come through that area.
A 1000 square foot corner of the park, close to the Andrews School and adjacent to where the future Clippership Connector will tie into the existing path network, showed exceptionally high levels of soil contamination during testing and is currently fenced off. Phase 2 will construct a concrete cap (a type of engineered barrier) over the area and return this corner of the park to active use. By “capping” that section, contamination at that corner will be contained and will not pose a risk to park users or to the general public.
A meditative labyrinth will be constructed on top of this cap to transform the contaminated site into a space of healing. A public meeting on the project was held on March 3rd, 2021, and a Public Site Walk was conducted on April 8th, 2021. The Office of PDS is currently facilitating final coordination between the project artist, LSP, and the City’s Tree Warden to finalize materials for bid documents. Construction is anticipated for late Fall 2021.
Carr Park and Gillis Park Comprehensive Plans
The Office of PDS is in the process of hiring a consultant to draft renovation plans for Carr Park and Gillis Park through funding from the Community Preservation Act. Consultants will set up community meetings at the parks and online surveys as part of looking at each park as a whole, evaluating accessibility, understanding the local constraints and the community interests, and develop conceptual design options.
Carr Park was highlighted in both the 2011 and 2019 Open Space and Recreation plans as needing renovations. The Comprehensive Plan will focus on solving drainage issues and updating the playground as well as the overall future of the park.
Gillis Park is a baseball field in Medford. Its Comprehensive Plan will focus on the park’s current accessibility issues and past flooding problems
There will be future opportunities for the public to give input on these projects, but we are starting to look for improvement ideas and suggestions for the parks. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any thoughts, comments, or questions.
South Medford Connector
In 2017, the City received an $80,000 grant from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to conduct a feasibility study for a South Medford Connector path along the south side of the Mystic River. In 2018, the City received a $198,000 Transportation Planning Grant from the MA Gaming Commission to begin engineering and permitting for the path. Currently, the City is evaluating the feasibility of closing the Route 16 exit ramp to make room for the connector path. No construction has commenced at this time as the city is committed to find a solution for the dangerous intersection at Main St. and South St. before pursuing this path, as it will increase pedestrian and bicycle traffic just one block from the intersection.
Wright’s Pond Rain Garden
A new rain garden at Wright’s Pond has been completed, thanks to the hard work of Medford residents and city employees!
The rain garden acts as both a stormwater drain and a water filtration system: the native plants planted in the garden will soak up runoff from precipitation events to prevent flooding. It will also infiltrate the water into the soil, preventing pollutants from entering Wright’s Pond and the nearby waterways.
MA Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Projects
MA Dept of Conservation and Recreation own and maintain Memorial and MacDonald Paths. They have been repaving paths through both parks in recent years. The path in Memorial Park was repaved in Spring 2017. The map here shows in green paths that were repaved during the Summer 2016. Most of the other paths have been repaved in subsequent years. During the summer of 2017 DCR built a boat landing and picnic area in MacDonald Park, with picnic benches and rain gardens. Photos from the construction are available from the website of landscape designer, Shadley Associates. Over the course of 2020, the DCR worked on the design and permitting of a new playground in MacDonald Park, near the State Police Station.
Malden River Greenways Vision Project
Located on the eastern edge of the City of Medford, the Malden river flows out of Malden and forms the border between Medford and Everett. Traditionally a very industrial area, the Medford side of the river is the home to the award winning RiversEdge property whose riverfront paths are open to the public. The Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) is working to create a shared vision for a seamless waterfront park system along both sides of the Malden River, connecting communities in Medford, Malden and Everett to this important natural resource.
Over the course of 2017, MyRWA partnered with cities, local developers/businesses, community groups and citizens to create a comprehensive vision that will support the implementation of vibrant and connected parklands along the river. Utile, the design consultant, developed a master plan and recommendations for new parks, paths, and amenities along the Malden River.
MyRWA held three public workshops in June, August and October to talk about the greenway plan and to share visions for the future of the Malden River. Notes and drawings from the meetings are available on MyRWA’s website here.
They continue to collect thoughts and comments on the future of the Malden River through their mapping survey available here. See updates and stay connected via MyRWA’s e-newsletter and social media to join in the visioning process.
The project is a partnership between the MyRWA; the cities of Everett, Malden, and Medford; Bike to the Sea; Friends of the Malden River; Lawrence and Lillian Solomon Foundation; Preotle, Lane and Associates; and Wynn Design and Development.