Greater Ashmont Main Street is working to create a people’s plaza in Peabody Square to provide a community hub for recharging, meeting neighbors, engaging with public art and performances, and learning about the history of Peabody Square and how to protect our cherished greenspace for the future.
We have an amazing opportunity to crowdfund for this project and have the proceeds matched 1:1 by MassDevelopment, plus additional matching funds from the Boston Main Streets Foundation – we need YOUR help!
Recent resident-led community visioning exercises have identified a need to expand the availability of public gathering spaces. Recognizing that the best aspect of Dorchester is the people, we want to use a people-focused design to create a fun place for neighbors to engage with their neighbors, Dorchester’s history, and Dorchester’s future.
Several years ago, during the redesign the Peabody Square intersections, many groups collaborated to create the Peabody Square plazas in a way that incorporated modern features, integrated green infrastructure, and preserved historic character. This redesign included permeable pavers that mimic the area’s pre-development hydrology and the creation of a bioswale-coupled rain garden to filter silt and pollutants from surface water runoff for a site that drains into the nearby Neponset River. The transformation of this space allowed residents to reclaim an area that was part of a congested intersection as a space for community interaction.
With funding from this campaign, Greater Ashmont Main Street will implement the remaining elements of the vision presented by COGdesign in 2016, all subject to final approval by the Boston Public Improvements Commission process. Specifically, we propose:
- A blend of permanent outdoor benches, game table and stool sets, and larger table seating with umbrellas
- Sculptural bike racks and a repair station
- New plantings in the raised beds and an additional tree for shade, along with the replacement of the struggling grass areas with porous pavers
- New recycling and rubbish receptacles
- Permanent historical and wayfinding signage to inform visitors in the square, direct them to our local businesses, and educate them regarding the rain garden’s function
- Bistro string lighting over the top of Peabody Plaza West
- A potential water feature in Peabody Plaza East, pending a complete feasibility evaluation
What We’ve Already Accomplished
In 2016, after securing initial pilot funds from Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance, LISC Boston, and the Boston Main Streets Foundation, and pro-bono landscape planning through COGdesign (including professionals from Lattanzio Landscapes (Nancy Lattanzio), Amy Martin Landscape Design (Ruth Riske), and Gardens & Exteriors (Love Albrecht Howard)), Greater Ashmont Main Street presented the Peabody Square ReInvestment Project to the community for input in June of 2016. The Main Street organization was soon able to celebrate the hoped for renovation of the Charles River Watershed Association bioswale rain garden in Peabody Square East by Parterre Ecological Services, under contract with Boston Parks. The rain garden was cleaned out, gravel lined, and replanted, bringing it up to current standards and incorporating what has been learned since it was originally created. With assistance from the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services Liaison and Boston Main Streets, Greater Ashmont MS further secured a donation of 13 surplus extra large concrete planting containers from Boston Parks (originally from the Downtown Crossing Business Improvement District) to add greenery and parking control to the square. Boston Public Works took on the significant task of transporting the planters to Peabody Square, J n J Yardwork provided landscaping labor, and Read Custom Soils donated a truckload of soil to help reduce their cost. With water temporarily supplied by the Ashmont Grill while the City’s water spigot is slated for repair, a major spring planting by One Boston Day volunteers with donated plants arranged by the Martin Richard Foundation, and many volunteer maintenance hours donated by the local civic associations to keep the plantings beautiful and litter free throughout the changing seasons, these planters have provided a pop of life and vibrancy to Peabody Square over the last year.
Connected Neighbors Strengthen Neighborhoods
People make neighborhoods great. We have seen events like the Ashmont Farmers Market and the Dorchester Bike and Brew festival bring the community together in ways that make our community of residents and small businesses connected and vibrant. We want to do more of this, both formally and informally. With musical performances or just a simple game of checkers with a neighbor, we hope the Peabody Square Plazas will become spaces for all Dorchester residents to come, unwind, and engage with others and the small businesses in Peabody Square.
How You Can Help
- DONATE NOW at Patronicity We cannot make this possible without your support. Remember — This is an incredible opportunity to have your donations go further with a match of 1:1 provided by MassDevelopment and additional matching funds from the Boston Main Streets Foundation.
- Spread the word: Tell your neighbors, people you meet on the T, friends you sit next to at Ashmont Grill about the campaign. Use the social media tools above to share the campaign with friends. The more support this project gets, the better it will be.
- Get involved: Greater Ashmont Main Street is powered by dedicated volunteers who are excited to make the neighborhood even greater. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how your skills can be of great use to the organization.