Charlesgate Park Revitalization Project

Boston’s Great Connector

Charlesgate Park, located at the intersection of Boston’s Back Bay, Fenway and Kenmore neighborhoods, was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted as a critical link to connect the Emerald Necklace, Charles River Esplanade, and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall.

Decades of prioritizing road construction over parkland have compromised this once-idyllic space, covering it with a highway overpass, dividing it with new roads and on-ramps and turning its central waterway, the Muddy River, into an armored and polluted environment. Stripped of its amenities and underutilized, what was originally a neighborhood park and a local destination now functions primarily as a pass-through space for pedestrians and vehicles.

Overpasses, armored shorelines and difficult pedestrian and cycling conditions make Charlesgate difficult to navigate and enjoy.

Restoring the Start of Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace

In 2017, Emerald Necklace Conservancy President Karen Mauney-Brodek assisted in the founding of a community group, Charlesgate Alliance, and planned and implemented a public process in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to revitalize this 13-acre green space— the underutilized “clasp” of the Emerald Necklace. Together, the Conservancy, the Alliance, DCR and internationally-renowned architecture firm Landing Studio developed a conceptual revitalization plan for Charlesgate Park, supported by numerous public meetings, site walks and buy-in from public partners and the community.

In 2019, completion of a conceptual design by Landing Studio was followed by major investments of $250,000 from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and $400,000 in funds from the Boston Community Preservation Act. These investments allow for the development of a final, shovel-ready design for Charlesgate Park as soon as Fall 2020. Proposed improvements and amenities for this finalized design include one of Boston’s largest dog parks, a universally inclusive children’s play area and the creation of rain gardens and wetland areas to treat and clean the Muddy River.

Our proposed design will also rebuild and expand a people-friendly and regional pathway network, restoring connections between the Emerald Necklace, Charles River Esplanade and Commonwealth Mall for the first time in more than five decades. When complete, this restored system will allow direct walking and cycling connections between locations as distant as Boston’s North Station, Charlestown, Dorchester, Cambridge and Watertown.

Get Involved

With your help, we can make this vision a reality. Learn more about the Charlesgate Park Revitalization Project from our 2020 Annual Meeting, featuring presentations from President Karen Mauney-Brodek, Dan and Marie Adams of Landing Studio and Garrett Dash Nelson of the Leventhal Map Center..

Charlesgate (blue) connects Boston’s major park systems (green). Click to expand.

Get the Latest on Charlesgate Park

Stay up to date on developments at Charlesgate Park, including public meetings and design updates, by signing up for our monthly eNewsletter.

Support A Revitalized Charlesgate Park

Our vision for Charlesgate Park needs your help to become a reality. Support our project with a donation today!

Learn More About Charlesgate Park

Discover the history of Charlesgate and our public process from our partners at the Charlesgate Alliance.

A project of:

Project Gallery

Existing Conditions at Charlesgate. (Map: Landing Studio.)

Proposed future Conditions at Charlesgate. Plans not final and subject to change. (Map: Landing Studio.)

Proposed dog park located at the southern edge of Charlesgate. (Visualization: Landing Studio.)

Proposed new pedestrian and bicycle connections at the northern edge of Charlesgate. (Visualization: Landing Studio.)

Environmental restoration of the Muddy River shoreline is proposed as part of the revitalization. (Visualization: Landing Studio.)

New pedestrian connections throughout Charlesgate, including a bridge to Newbury Street, are proposed as part of the plan. (Visualization: Landing Studio.)

Our signature biennial fundraiser An Emerald Evening In is taking place virtually next Wednesday, October 14, 6-8pm. Take a look at this special message from Mayor Walsh and make sure not to miss this special event!