Roxbury, MA – Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett today announced a $450,000 investment in three park and open space projects in Roxbury that will upgrade or create areas for residents to enjoy for generations to come.
“Growth requires investment and creating and upgrading urban parks will create growth and opportunity in Roxbury,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “These projects will provide welcoming spaces for current residents and future generations to enjoy.”
These projects are being funded through the Patrick Administration’s Signature Urban Parks initiative. This investment will be used to make improvements to the Buena Vista (Warren Gardens) Urban Wild, Puddingstone Garden and the historic Eliot Burying Ground. EEA will partner with the City of Boston to make these sites more welcoming and accessible to all residents and visitors.
“The Patrick Administration has made historic investments in open space and land conservation, making Massachusetts a better place for our children and grandchildren,” said Secretary Bartlett. “These projects will give Roxbury residents and workers new opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.”
Boston is one of seven cities receiving funding through the Governor’s Signature Urban Parks program. Through these projects, the Patrick Administration seeks to revitalize urban communities by opening up, or upgrading, green spaces for outdoor recreation and improving access to natural resources such as waterways and historic neighborhood landmarks. This investment builds on the Patrick Administration’s $2.4 million project to revitalize Roxbury Heritage State Park and the Dillaway-Thomas House.
”I would like to thank Governor Patrick and Secretary Bartlett for their steadfast commitment to the preservation and beautification of Roxbury,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “Because of the Patrick Administration’s pledge to historic preservation and open space in the Roxbury community, future generations will be able to enjoy it through a variety of recreational and educational activities.”
The three new projects being funded are as follows:
- Eliot Burying Ground: established in 1630, the Eliot Burying Ground was the first burying ground in Roxbury. Many prominent citizens from Roxbury’s early days are interred at the burying ground, such as Reverend John Eliot and several members of the Dudley family. EEA funding will go towards improving walkways, restoration of the historic fencing and Roxbury puddingstone along Washington and Eustis Streets and the installation of interpretive signage.
- Buena Vista (Warren Gardens): Comprised of a 50-foot rock cliff, Buena Vista Urban Wild represents the only natural open space within the immediate neighborhood. This project will improve access at both entrances, create a path to the summit and remove invasive vegetation.
- Puddingstone Garden: Fifty years ago, the Puddingstone Urban Wild site was cleaned up and the idea of creating a garden was proposed. Through the efforts of local residents, this site was preserved and maintained for many years. In 2003, a coalition of volunteers including residents, the U.S. Forest Service and the state Department of Environmental Management came together to plant new trees and shrubs and improve the site’s landscaping. To build on these earlier improvements, EEA will work with the City to address drainage and erosion control issues, improve accessibility at entry points and replant areas of the hillside.
“There are very few sites in Roxbury where its residents and visitors can see landscape as it appeared to the indigenous people who travelled through here and to the first European immigrants who settled here,” said Representative Byron Rushing. “This small investment of our tax dollars goes a long way toward preserving three of these important historic open spaces. What is common in all three of these sites is the geology and Roxbury puddingstone. That is no surprise. Roxbury—originally called Rocksborough—is named for this unique rock!”
“During my years as State Representative for the Roxbury area of Boston my colleagues and I have advocated for funding for revitalization and creation of green spaces and outdoor events, walking, viewing and development that would teach and enhance the rich history of our community. Roxbury is One Of Boston’s Historic Treasures,” said Representative Gloria Fox. “Finally we have a Governor that understands the need for investment in the history and culture of our community at large.”
“Expansion of visitor amenities at the Eliot Burying Ground makes Roxbury’s rich history more accessible to the public,” said Kathy Kottaridis, director of Historic Boston Incorporated. “We are so grateful to the Commonwealth for its investment in the historic places and parks that make Boston’s neighborhoods unique.”
Since taking office, the Patrick Administration has made a historic investment of more than $350 million in land conservation focused on three goals: investing in urban parks, preserving working farms and forests and protecting large natural landscapes for habitat. This investment has resulted in the permanent protection of more than 125,000 acres of land and the renovation or creation of more than 190 parks. The new parks and open space created are within a 10 minute walk of 1.5 million residents – about a quarter of the Commonwealth’s residents.
According to a report by The Trust for Public Land, outdoor recreation generates $10 billion in consumer spending, $739 million in state and local tax revenue and $3.5 billion in wages and salaries each year in Massachusetts.