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Walsh announces master plan effort to improve Franklin Park

Renovations at Franklin Park’s White Stadium (above), home to many of Boston’s high school football and soccer teams, could be part of the $28 million package.
Renovations at Franklin Park’s White Stadium (above), home to many of Boston’s high school football and soccer teams, could be part of the $28 million package.(Globe Photo/File)

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced a new master plan effort for Franklin Park Friday afternoon, following the January announcement that $28 million will be allocated toward the park.

“Thanks to the sale of the Winthrop Street Garage, we will have $28 million to invest in preserving and improving this park for our residents, and for future generations to come,” Walsh said.

The plan for Franklin Park, located in the heart of Boston, will “provide a vision for the park,” building on current investments, while the funds will support improvements, activities, and maintenance of the park, a statement from Walsh’s office said.

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The Franklin Park Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to the park, partnered with the city to pick the team that will be behind the master plan, said executive director Janna Cohen-Rosenthal in a telephone interview Friday.

It will take a year to a year-and-a-half for the master plan to be finalized, Cohen-Rosenthal said, and for concrete ideas to be laid out. The coalition hopes the funding will improve the park and add important necessities it’s lacking, like public bathrooms, she said.

“The park absolutely needs a master plan, but an actionable one, one that can get stuff done,” Cohen-Rosenthal said.

Walsh announced in January during his State of the City speech that the $28 million in funding, which comes from the sale of the Winthrop Street Garage, will be allocated toward Franklin Park. This funding is vital, Cohen-Rosenthal said, as the park has become in need of improvements for a while. The last master plan for the park came out in the 1990s, she said.

The park has changed since it was commissioned and designed in the 1890s, Cohen-Rosenthal said.

“For example, areas of the park were taken out for things like the golf course and for the stadium, and they’re all under different jurisdictions,” Cohen-Rosenthal said.

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The news comes after a recently completed $7.25 million, six-year renovation project for the park’s pathways and entrances, the Globe reported.

The Cambridge-based landscape architects Reed Hilderbrand will be working with Cambridge’s Agency Landscape + Planning and Boston’s MASS Design Group on this plan, Walsh’s office said.

“We are committed to envisioning a sustainable and equitable Franklin Park that contributes to a prosperous and vibrant Boston for future generations,” John Kett, principal and lead designer for Reed Hildebrand, said in a statement.


Breanne Kovatch can be reached at breanne.kovatch@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @breannekovatch.