Friends of the Codman Square Park

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The Friends of Codman Square Park work to maintain and activate the Codman Square Park (Codman Commons) in Dorchester. The Friends are made of up residents, community organizations and government agencies working to enhance and improve this centrally located park in the Codman Square community.
The Friends host community events and activities in the park including the Social Saturdays at the Codman Square Farmers Market, National Night Out, Love Your Block and more.
To learn more about our efforts to redesign the Codman Square Park, contact us at friendsofcodmansquarepark@gmail.com or visit https://www.urbancultureinstitute.org/codman-square-park.html
History
The Codman Square Park was established in the 1980s after the Codman Square Neighborhood Council worked with the then owner of the Latin Academy Apartments (old Dorchester High School for Girls) and the City of Boston to convert a vacant area of the Latin Academy Apartments parcel into a park open to the public. Rev. Dr. Bill Loesch
Project Summary
The Codman Square Neighborhood Council (CSNC) is spearheading the redesign of the Codman Square Park with the Friends of Codman Square Park. Creative placemaking is envisioned by creating a new plan for its landscape design which will be integrated with public art.The Codman Square Park, located at about 360 Talbot Avenue in Dorchester, 02124 at the intersection of Washington Street and Talbot Avenue, neighbors the Second Church, the Great Hall, and the Codman Square Health Center. Codman Square itself is part of a historic district in central Dorchester and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1983. Important architectural landmarks include the 1806 Congregational Church, the 1904 Codman Square branch of the Boston Public Library, the former Girls Latin Academy (built 1900 as Dorchester High School), and the 1899 Lithgow Building, a commercial brick building. Codman Square Park is an important community meeting place and the CSNC assisted in its establishment as a public park in the 1980s. The CSNC helped to establish the Friends of the Codman Square Park which is made up of residents, community organizations, merchants and other groups that care for the Codman Square Park. Codman Square has a long tradition as a major civic center in Dorchester.

Project Partners
The project is a collaborative effort between the City of Boston’s Edward Ingersoll Browne Trust, Boston Parks and Recreation, the Boston Art Commission; the Codman Square Neighborhood Council; the Friends of Codman Square Park Selection Committee (Selection Committee) and community members. The planning process is facilitated by the Urban Culture Institute in partnership with the CSNC and the project team.Overall Goals for the Codman Square Park Redesign Public Art

  • Create an attractive, inclusive meeting place for all.
  • Improve functionality, aesthetics and safety in the park.
  • Celebrate the local neighborhood.
  • Design a cutting-edge landscape design that integrates public art.
  • Create new space to gather and socialize, knitting neighborhoods together.
  • Serve as a community service project, as well as an educational destination.
  • Design will offer a sense of place.
  • Appropriateness for the site, including scale and safety.
  • Low maintenance and permanent materials.
  • Apply sustainable design methods and principles.
  • Adhere to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) guidelines, as appropriate.​
  • Ensure the design encourages intergenerational use.​

Work Accomplished to Date
During the fall and winter of 2016/2017, the CSNC hosted an information table at both the Codman Square Farmers Market and the Dorchester Winter Farmers Market in Codman Square to collect community comments regarding what residents would like to see at the Codman Square Park.  Comments were also gathered at monthly CSNC meetings. In addition, the Friends of Codman Square Park continued to meet monthly to discuss those comments as well as the status and future of Codman Square Park. The following wish list captures some of the ideas established for the Codman Square Park improvements:

  • Plant an evergreen to replace the existing one that is dying which will be used for the annual tree lighting ceremony with the Mayor.
  • Increase the number of shrubs and flowering plants around the perimeter of the park.
  • Incorporate art and historic features in the park.
  • Incorporate family friendly areas in the park.
  • Ensure the art installation complements the games tables and community kiosk design and location presently proposed for the park.
  • Ensure the art efforts are done in collaboration with Parks Department efforts to complement the lighting, bench relocation proposals, etc.
  • Renovate the fence around the park.

Codman Square Park Landscape Redesign
Kyle Zick Landscape Architecture (KZLA) was the firm selected during an invitational review process with four local landscape architecture firms as a first step of the planning and redesign process. KZLA then participated in the selection of three finalist artists to collaboratively develop public art for the Park and presented his site analysis at the October 10 Creative Dialog, a public meeting.
Codman Square Park Site Analysis by KZLA (4 MB)

Integral Public Art Development
An open public art competition resulted in 134 entries. Following the art selection committee’s thorough review three artists from New England and New York City were invited to develop site-specific schematic proposals. Finalist artists Catherine Widgery, Destiny Palmer and Osman Akan are working on integral art proposals in collaboration with Kyle Zick Landscape Architecture.

Schedule of Public Meetings with an Open Invitation to Participate
The public is invited to a series of public presentations and discussions, and to provide feedback on the Codman Square Park Redesign as follows:

PUBLIC MEETING CALENDAR
Thursday, December 12, 2018 | 6pm
Public Presentation of 3 Finalist Schematic Design Proposals
The Great Hall, 6 Norfolk Street, Dorchester, MA

Tuesday, January 29, 2019 | 6-8pm
Presentation of revised, collaborative Codman Square Park Redesign 
Proposal by the landscape architect and the artist
Black Box Theatre, 14 Epping Street, Dorchester, MA

PAST MEETINGS
Wednesday, May 9 at 6 p.m. | Landscape Architecture Firm Presentations
The Great Hall, 6 Norfolk St, Dorchester, MA
Download the flyer.

by May 21, 2018 | Invitation to Comment
We invite you to participate and provide feedback on the 4 landscape architect presentations. Email your comments to the Friends of Codman Square Park.

Wednesday, June 7 at 6pm | Review the Call to Artists Draft
Friends of Codman Square Park, 14 Euclid St, Dorchester, MA

Wednesday, September 12 at 6pm | Review Artist Entries 
Artist Selection Committee, 14 Euclid St, Dorchester, MA

Wednesday, October 10, 2018 | 6-8pm
Community Site Visit and Creative Dialog Session with Finalist Artists and Landscape Architect  
Second Church in Dorchester, 44 Moultrie Street, Dorchester, MA
​Download the flyer. ​Download the Creative Dialog notes.

Background Documentation
Codman Square Park Integral Public Art RFQ
Download the full Codman Square Park Integral Public Art RFQ including site photos, an overview of park programs and a bibliography.

How to Get Involved
The Codman Square Neighborhood Council is seeking volunteers to get involved and to assist with anticipated fundraising for the implementation phase. Please email Cynthia Loesch-Johnson, CSNC, or Christina Lanzl, Urban Culture Institute.