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PARKS + RECREATION
Cornelia Warren Park
The City of Waltham retained Beals + Thomas to design the renovations and site improvements to the Recreation Department’s property known as Cornelia Warren field. At the time, only home to a softball field, the City had a vision to turn this is into more than just a field; to create a multi-use park for many user groups. This vision aligned with the property’s namesake, who was a social philanthropist well known for her investment in community improvement projects, as well as encouragement of health and fitness activities for the general public throughout her career in the latter half of the 19th century and turn of the century.
Beals + Thomas prepared design plans based on the City’s need for an upgraded field as well as the goal of incorporating new and unique features at this park, ones that could not be found at any of the City’s other properties. Community input was received during a public meeting as well as through the City’s online forum.
In addition to a newly renovated natural grass softball field with new appurtenances, such as fencing, bleachers, players benches, scoreboard, dugouts, and backstop, the design also boasts a new playground, a fitness area featuring both traditional and “Ninja Warrior” inspired fitness equipment, a 1/4 mile walking path, a covered picnic area, and a nearly 14,000 square foot synthetic turf putting green. This one-of-a-kind putting green, which has two practice areas with a total of 36 holes, will be open to the public and utilized for kids golf clinics.
This project also includes a newly paved parking lot, a new irrigation system, and drainage improvements.
Beals + Thomas assisted the City of Worcester to prepare construction documents for the renovation of Grant Square Park, an approximately 1.6-acre acre park in the Bell Hill neighborhood of Worcester, MA. Utilizing a previously prepared Master Plan, Beals + Thomas completed a detailed design and construction documents for the initial phase
Improvements to the park include a new terraced playground area, where the play equipment is separated by age group, a new basketball court, accessible parking, walking paths and site furnishings including picnic tables and benches.
The Goodwill Park playground is a 0.75-acre recreational reconstruction project that provides access for individuals of all ages and abilities. The reconstruction of Goodwill Park was made possible by the collaborative efforts of local organizations underthe direction of Mission Possible: Holliston, whose goal is to support the development, improvement and maintenance of recreational spaces in Holliston for current and future generations of all abilities.
The reconstructed playground incorporates a new parking area, accessible playground equipment, picnic areas, informal play areas, seating, and educational and sensory opportunities associated with multiple rain gardens and landscape materials. Project components included a topographic survey, tree inventory, design development, rain garden design and drainage calculations, construction documents, and construction support services. Renovation and reconstruction of the existing tennis courts and basketball court at Goodwill Park is currently underway and upon completion will have transformed this outdated facility into a state-of-the-art recreational destination.
Historic Elm Park
Elm Park in Worcester, MA is considered to be one of the first purchases of land for recreation purposes using public funds in the United States. In 1854, the land was purchased by the City of Worcester for the explicit purpose of creating a new “Public Common”. Although considered by some as the oldest public park in the United States, other parks including Central Park in New York and Bushnell Park in Hartford, Connecticut were also being established around this time period. Despite some initial displeasure voiced by the citizens of Worcester for purchasing the tract using public funds, today Elm Park can be considered the crown jewel of Worcester’s park system which consists of over 60 facilities located throughout the city. With elements of the park designed by the firm established by the renowned landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, it retains many of the pastoral features that have become synonymous with historic Olmsted designs.
Since 2011, Beals + Thomas has been providing services to the Parks, Recreation and Cemetery Division of the City’s Department of Public Works and Parks related to renovations and improvements at Elm Park. Most recently, Beals + Thomas has been included in a unique partnership consisting of the City of Worcester’s Parks, Recreation and Cemetery Division, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and students from the carpentry program at the Worcester Technical High School (WTHS). This collaboration has WPI preparing the design and WTHS constructing a replacement for the iconic Red Bridge that spans the narrow channel that connects the South Mere and Elm Mere. The Red Bridge, although having been reconstructed and replaced several times since its initial installation in 1877, has been a popular location for weddings and is considered by some to be the most photographed location in central Massachusetts. The new Red Bridge, once completed and installed, will be compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements correcting the previous steep grade that led to the bridge from both sides. Upon completion, the bridge will be named the Myra Hiatt Kraft Memorial Bridge, in honor of the late philanthropist and Worcester native.
Upper Charles Rail Trail
Multiple Communities, MA
The Upper Charles Rail Trail is a local, state and federally funded project to convert a 24-mile abandoned rail bed to establish a scenic, multi-use trail system. The trail connects the towns of Milford, Hopkinton, Ashland, Sherborn, and Holliston, and is intended to provide a direct connection with the Bay Circuit Trail.
Beals + Thomas has provided extensive pro bono services for the project, including landscape architecture, planning, and surveying. Support efforts involved design and engineering, plans and specifications, construction cost estimates, and wetland permitting assistance. Specifically, Beals + Thomas provided services to the Town of Milford for its Phase III of the Upper Charles Rail Trail in the downtown section of Milford. Additionally, we have provided survey, design and permitting services to the Town of Hopkinton for various sections of its trail.
Needham Master Trails Plan
Beals + Thomas worked with the Needham Trails Committee, interested citizens, and town representatives to prepare a comprehensive Master Trails Plan for the town-wide and regional trail system. The goal was to create a unified trail system that links conservation and recreation land within Needham and adjacent towns and encourages and informs residents of its use.
Major project objectives included providing adequate trail access, prioritizing trail maintenance and construction, and providing necessary signage. Services included review and analysis of existing and proposed accessibility and permitting requirements, analysis of sensitive ecological areas, and presentations at public meetings.
The services culminated in the preparation of a Master Trails map, individual trail maps, and a 5-year Master Plan identifying general/safety improvements and cost estimates.
DCR Bridge and Trail Segment
Beals + Thomas designed a public multi-use accessible trail to connect Concord Street in Newton to Washington Street in Wellesley. The trail crosses the Charles River at an existing railroad bridge that the Department of Conservation and Recreation renovated for trail purposes.
Services included wetland resource area delineation, surveying and support to the Department with ideas and graphics using enhanced digital images to solicit design input from the public at a meeting with residents and interested parties. Beals + Thomas also prepared the construction plans and specifications for the trail and adjacent park.
Charles River Reservation/Barnes Pathway
The Barnes Pathway is an existing paved path that parallels the Charles River. Beals + Thomas provided the Department of Conservation and Recreation with design services to achieve a cohesive, uniform walking path that will enhance the trail user’s experience. The project provided landscape improvements, accessibility improvements, and trail connections to an existing abandoned rail bed and bridge over the Charles River and to an existing residential complex.