Boston gets a new park

Published 10:05 pm Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A new playground has opened in the Boston neighborhood.

Lakita Watson, director of Suffolk Parks and Recreation, said when she dropped off her child at school at King’s Fork Middle School, she would drive through the Boston neighborhood on her way back downtown to head to work.

On her drives through the neighborhood, she came to a surprising realization.

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“I would always see kids outside playing, but they didn’t have a park,” Watson said.

She said the kids were either playing in the street or in vacant lots.

Watson decided to bring up the matter to the city manager. Eventually, the parks and recreation department partnered with the planning department to work on building a park in the neighborhood.

The resulting 1.5-acre park, located at 825 Lincoln Ave., opened last week.

It includes a half-court basketball court, a picnic shelter and park benches. The basketball court is made of a specialized material that is more durable and won’t crack like asphalt courts, Watson said.

Additionally, there is a black bear-themed playground for children ages 2 to 12. Watson said this is one of the first city parks with themed playground equipment. She hopes to do the same for future park projects.

“I’m really excited to be more creative with the playground equipment,” Watson said.

Also, a swing set will be installed in the coming months, she said.

The park will be open from sunrise to sunset.

Folks in the Boston community had high praise for the park this week.

“It’s a whole lot better for the kids,” said Karen Barrett, a Boston resident. “They’re out there every day.”

“It keeps them from being idle,” said Bishop Clarence Russell III, senior pastor at St. Paul Baptist Church, which is adjacent to the park.

“It shows the city is willing to make an investment in the community. I hope the community will embrace and take care of what is put in place here.”

The planning department utilized open-space funding for the project, Watson said. She added the land was purchased from a nearby railroad.

“It was a wonderful opportunity,” Watson said.

Boston Park is one of the first new park projects headed by Watson. In the past, she and her team were in charge of renovations of existing parks.

Since the park’s opening, Watson has been pleased with the community response.

“The kids are there,” she said. “I’m glad the kids have somewhere to play.”

Watson said there are plans to build a walking path in the park to encourage walking between the Williamstown and Boston neighborhoods.