Park & Path Developments

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.

Medford’s Open Space and Recreation Plan was updated in 2019 and the plan and all the appendixes are available for download here. It was the first plan in MA to fully incorporate Climate Resiliency.

Current Projects

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 ongoing and completed projects is available here for download (February 2021). There are several projects highlighted below with additional materials to review.

The status of ongoing Parks Projects can be reviewed in this Google Spreadsheet.

Read the new updates about McGlynn Universal Playground, Carr Park, and Gillis Field!

McGlynn Universal Playground Construction Update: June 2024

In order to be ready in time for next September, the McGlynn Playground construction team broke ground this past December and still aims to be completed by the start of the Fall 2024 Semester.  

While the playground is being renovated, we encourage residents to visit other nearby parks, including Harris, Magoun, Logan, and the newly renovated Morrison playground. We hope that you will join us in being excited for our new playground to be completed! 

Work hours at the playground are from about 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday. Machinery will not be used before 7 a.m. Medford Public Schools has worked closely with the construction manager to minimize disruption to school pick-up and drop-off times during the school year.

As of May 2024, the construction has undergone significant progress, and each day, the playground is coming closer to becoming an excellent and inclusive space for learning and playing for our students and the entire community.

Pictured is an outdoor classroom with log seats, a large tree at the center, and gravel surfacing on the ground. The gravel will be covered with permeable pavement. Two wooden posts are at the front of the classroom, and that will be the outdoor whiteboard.
The current status of the outdoor classroom at McGlynn Park. Log-style seating will hold students with wheelchair seating spots. The gravel will be replaced with permeable pavement, and the two wooden posts at the back will have an outdoor whiteboard attached. There will also be garden beds at multiple heights for Preschool through Fifth-grade students.
Pictured is a large tree in the center of the image. The tree is surrounded by a gravel pathway. The gravel pathway will be replaced by permeable surfacing. The pathway connects to a deck in the foreground of the image.
The students at McGlynn were very clear when telling us how important the existing playground tree was. Now, the tree will serve as a large, shady spot, complete with a deck surrounding the tree, and the gravel will be replaced with permeable paving.
Pictured is a large turf lawn. In the distance, there is a  new metal pavillion and terraced concrete seating. On the right, a windmill is right off the lawn. To the left, a new patio with picnic tables are located.
The current state of the Pavillion. This will be a new gathering space or just a place to hang out in the shade. Turf on the ground and rubber playground material on the walls have been installed, and picnic tables under the pavilion shade will be installed soon.

If you want more details about the current construction status at McGlynn Playground as of May 2024, click here.  

As for what’s next, the construction team has several more milestones before McGlynn playground is completed. These include:

  • Installing fencing
  • Planting more trees and shrubs
  • Creating landforms and digging for the playground areas
  • Installing playground equipment
  • Paving areas with asphalt

Principal O’Brien and the Playground Design Committee will continue to send regular updates to the school community, and the City Planning, Development, & Sustainability Office will issue updates as they become available.

If you have questions related to the impact on McGlynn students and families, please contact Principal O’Brien at aobrien@medford.k12.ma.us or 781-393-2333. For questions on the project itself, please contact the City’s Office of Planning, Development, & Sustainability at ocd@medford-ma.gov or 781-393-2480.

Carr Park Vision Plan: June 2024 Update

Current conditions of Carr Park playground

The Office of Planning, Development & Sustainability hired CBA Landscape Architects to work with the community to create a Vision Plan for Carr Park through funding from the Community Preservation Act.

The Vision Plan for Carr Park is complete and can be viewed here. PDS staff is working with consultants in 2022 to put together funding to implement this vision plan.

Carr Park Phase 1:

Phase 1 is fully funded and is nearly finished! Phase 1 work includes:

  • Reconstruction of two baseball diamonds 
  • An accessible pathway that loops around the entire field
  • Robust invasive plant species treatment and removal 
  • Formalization of the Stowers Ave trail connection 
  • Removal of concrete and construction debris from the northern woods 
  • Four dedicated pickleball courts
  • Drinking fountain/bottle filler installed
  • New seating
  • Addition of a grassy meadow/pollinator area

As of June 2024, construction is still underway for:

  • Finishing electrical work for the pickleball court lights
  • Installing final site furnishings, such as a drinking fountain and seating
  • Installing disc golf baskets
  • Performing periphery landscaping maintenance

The central field lawn will remain closed to the public until Summer 2025, allowing the grass root system to become well established. Continuing to keep off of the field is very important. Even something as simple as walking across the lawn compacts the soil and disturbs root growth during this critical period. This creates issues in the field’s immediate and long-term maintenance and redirects essential City resources that could be used for other important work.

Pictured is a large grassy field. There are some patches on the field, and a corner of a baseball diamond is on the right.
The grass field is coming in gradually at Carr Park. It is very important to stay off the field as walking on the grass will compact the soil and weaken the grass’s root system during this critical growth period.

While the field will remain offline, in mid-July 2024, the City plans to open the loop pathway and pickleball courts to the public! Stay tuned for more information over the coming weeks. The City will share updates on when the field is open via newsletter, press release, social media, and this website.

Pictured are several new pickleball courts.
The pickleball courts are newly painted. Fences will be installed before they are open for play in mid-summer 2024.

This project was funded with a Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant for $1,000,000, $1,260,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding, and $402,000 in Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding to go towards the pickleball courts. Construction started in Fall 2023.

On October 11th, 2023, a Groundbreaking Ceremony for Phase I of Carr Park renovations was held.

Carr Park Phase 2:

Funding has been secured, and Phase 2 of Carr Park is almost ready for construction! So far, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has granted $1,000,000 toward the project and an additional federal earmark of $1,500,000 through the Department of Energy with help from Representative Katherine Clark. An additional $2,400,000 in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds has been allocated to the project.

Community outreach session for future Carr Park designs.

The City hosted three tabling sessions to inform the design and published an online survey to the community members about what they’d like to see in the playground, teen area, and mini skatepark. In addition, an online survey was posted.

The second phase of construction will include:

  • Separate playgrounds for ages 2-5 and 5-12
  • A small splash pad
  • A mini skate park geared toward beginners
  • An adult fitness area 
  • A picnic lawn
  • A shaded seating area with small device charging
  • Teen tall swings and additional seating
  • A fenced dog park 
  • Two basketball courts: one will have a shade shelter over it, with solar panels on its roof. These panels will collect solar energy and power other amenities throughout the park, such as lighting and charging.

The designs for Phase 2 are being refined and converted into construction documents, which will take several months to review due to the project’s large scale and must undergo review from various City departments. Barring any changes, bidding is expected to begin at the end of the summer, with construction starting in the fall. A rough timeline would be to expect about 18 months of construction, though the date is tentative, as a more robust timeline will be established once plans are developed. Stay tuned for more details. Thank you to everyone who has participated in the outreach sessions. These exciting designs are a direct result of community ideas and input!


View Carr Park Vision Plan and Learn More

Gillis Field is Reopening this Summer!

An aerial shot of the Gillis Field  baseball diamond.
An aerial shot of Gillis field. The grass is almost fully grown in is almost ready to be reopened

The work at Gillis Field is nearly complete! Currently, grass has been growing undisturbed to strengthen its root network, which will reduce future maintenance and expenses related to the field.

Over the next few weeks, the project team will review a few remaining items, such as checking that the irrigation system and electrical systems are functioning as intended, finishing up the remaining landscaping, and completing any needed inspections. The City plans to host a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the completed renovation in July 2024. As details are confirmed, they will be posted on the City Events calendar. We look forward to seeing you there!

Morrison Park Playground

The Office of Planning, Development & Sustainability has hired Copley Wolff Design Group to engage with the community to identify and prioritize playground enhancements, specifically geared to younger children. Landscape architects from Copley Wolff were at Morrison Park for three tabling sessions in Fall 2021 to talk with residents.

Based on input from the community, Copley Wolff has prepared a final proposed design. Community members may review the design and provide feedback through an online survey and at in-park tabling sessions. City staff and landscape architects from Copley Wolff spoke with community members at Morrison Park on April 27th and April 30th.

Copley Wolff is making adjustments to the design based on community member feedback and is preparing construction documents to implement priority enhancements. Construction is expected to start this fall (2022). The improvements will be paid for by Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds.


Review the Final Proposed Design


Proposed design, provided by Copley Wolff.

Wellington Underpass

The Wellington Underpass is the final phase of the Wellington Greenway shared use path that will link the current dead end at Wellington T station parking lot via a new underpass under Route 16. The project is a collaboration between the City of Medford, MassDOT, DCR, and MyRWA. The design and engineering process is ongoing and supported by Gaming Commission Funds, a MassTrails Grant Application, and Transportation Investment Plan Construction Funding (MassDOT).


View Wellington Underpass Project Page & Learn More

Preferred Circulation Design Alignment

Logan Park Natural Play Addition

The City of Medford is working with CBA Landscape Architects to add to Logan Park. The design process will build upon natural elements already present at the site, and develop options for a natural play area near the existing playground. The project design will be funded using a grant from CDBG (Community Development Block Grant). In addition, the City has identified a small amount of funding for the project implementation and plans to reuse “found” natural materials such as previously removed tree stumps, to minimize costs.

First, our design team gathered input from the community to help us understand the site and develop a “wish list” of goals and features that residents would like to include to improve the available space and enhance overall park design. Consultants were at the park on October 21st and Saturday, October 23rd 2021 to speak with residents, and the PDS Office hosted an online survey.

Consultants presented preliminary designs in the park on November 14th, 2021. Images from this presentation will be available shortly online.

The team received some great feedback on our initial ideas from the community, which were compiled into final improvement ideas. Construction will start soon (Summer 2022).

Gillis Park ADA Update Plan

Gillis Park is a baseball field in Medford. Its Comprehensive Plan will focus on the park’s current accessibility issues and past flooding problems. The Office of Planning, Development, and Sustainability is in conversations with consultants about possible project options and funding sources. Updates will be provided to the public soon.

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 ocd@medford-ma.gov with any thoughts, comments, or questions.

Riverbend Park

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.

Phase 1

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.

Phase 2

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 construction for this project ongoing; construction will start with concrete work, then proceed with stone-laying for the labyrinth and tree planting in the fall.

This project is funded by the City’s Community Preservation Act Fund.

Progress on Riverbend Park Labyrinth June 2022

Clippership Connector

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 was 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. DCR expects to begin construction in Summer/Fall 2022; the project’s construction is currently out for bid (as of June 2022).

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.

Funding
The design of the path is 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.

In 2018, the path was awarded a 100K for 100 grant from the Cummings Foundation to help pay for Medford’s costs related to the design and construction of the path.

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.

Map of the Clippership Connector from MyRWA

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.

  1. Held on October 5th, 2020, 6:30-8:00 pm. Public Notice | Presentation
  2. Held on June 6th, 2019, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Public Notice | Presentation
  3. 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.

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.

In Fall 2021, MassDOT began advancing the design of the Connector utilizing the existing Route 16/I-93 ramp system. The project is being closely coordinated with safety improvements at the intersection of the ramps with Main Street and South Street. MassDOT has committed to funding the design of both the Connector and intersections projects. Funding for construction has not yet been identified; the City is continuing to partner with MassDOT to advance funding for these high priority projects.

More information: South Medford Connector

MA Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Projects

map - DCR macdonlad Park Medford Ma CO 07 Plan-Rev 6-16

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 (completed in 2018) 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. 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 SeaFriends of the Malden River; Lawrence and Lillian Solomon Foundation; Preotle, Lane and Associates; and Wynn Design and Development.


Map of Proposed Malden Greenway from Utile

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.