Work underway to revamp Cronin-Wainwright Park

This sketch from The Boston Parks Department lays out the changes planned for Cronin-Wainwright Park in St. Mark’s Parish near Codman Square.

City workers are busy revamping Cronin-Wainwright Park in response to a series of requests by the St. Mark’s community. The $925,000 rehab, slated for completion by June of 2012, has been underway since September and is expected to continue as long as the season’s warm weather holds out.

The park saw its last major facelift in 1992 and is being redesigned to offer a more welcoming, town green-style experience for the neighborhood. The project received a $500,000 grant from the state’s Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities program with the remaining funding provided by the city. 

Boston Parks and Recreation project manager Cathy Baker-Eclipse said she was impressed by the level of community involvement she saw during planning meetings held in the Spring of 2011 and felt the finished product will reflect neighborhood concerns about safety and how the park is presented to visitors.

“We tried to be really responsive to what we heard during community meetings. They were all very well attended and I think the community was really excited,” Baker-Eclipse said. “Thanks to the grant, we can make some major changes to the way in which the park is being used.”

Workers are replacing playground equiptment and installing a spray deck for the summer months, resurfacing both a junior and NCAA-sized basketball court located in the northeast corner of the park, and resizing the current softball field to accomodate a wider range of activities.

Additionally, the stone memorial dedicated to 20-year-old Joseph F. Keenan, a Navy hospital corpsman and St. Mark’s native killed in action during the Korean War, will be moved closer to the park’s Melbourne Street entrance, which itself will be moved further south for easier access.

Baker-Eclipse said the park’s chain-link fence, which earned the site an unofficial title as “the prison yard” among some residents, will be replaced with a 40-inch picket fence, while new lighting will be installed to make the park more welcoming and safer for nighttime use.

“Safety was a major concern for all of us, the city and the neighbors,” Baker-Eclipse said. “There’s a lot of pedestrian traffic after hours thanks to the T station and we want to make sure people aren’t traveling through a big dark spot.” 

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