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Dot Park will shine this season

Dorchester Park, the 30-acre, Olmsted-designed jewel that anchors our neighborhood to the south, has a magical quality this time of year. The buds are poking out from their winter slumber, the trees are springing back to life and kids are once again swarming the ballfields and playground.

Dot Park has benefited from a tremendous civic lifeline that has grown up around it over the last two decades. The Dorchester Park Association, Inc.— led by the indefatigable Jane Boyer— has helped to program and clean the park each year and is the driving force behind a fantastic line-up of events this season, including Saturday morning’s Easter Egg Hunt (10 a.m. sharp at the tennis courts). Boyer has able and energetic help from a team of park enthusiasts, including Richard O’Mara, the owner of Cedar Grove Gardens, who has been instrumental in organizing fundraisers and helping to coordinate clean-ups and tree plantings.

O’Mara is hard at work with a committee of volunteers planning a huge, tented gala event in the park in September. The event will include a formal dinner on the night of Sept. 23. The next morning, the same tent will house a brunch for families who may not be able to attend the evening gala and a performance by the Dorchester Symphomny Orchestra. The next day, Sunday, September 25, the park will host an antique car festival, with Meetinghouse Bank’s president Tony Paciulli organizing the event.

As Boyer points out, neighbors in the Lower Mills village have long been instrumental in helping her and other neighbors step up for the park in ways both large and small. For this weekend’s Easter Egg Hunt, for example, students from Pope John Paul II Academy’s Lower Mills campus will help by stuffing thousands of eggs for the hundreds of hunters who will descend on the park on Saturday morning.

The collaborative approach to programming and maintaining Dorchester Park is expanding this year to include even more events. On Saturday, April 30, Carney Hospital and Harbor Health Services, Inc. will make use of the park for part of their Dorchester Teams Up Against Diabetes Health Fair, which runs from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. The hospital campus will host much of the event — including health screenings— but the outdoor components, such as tennis and bike riding lessons— will be next door in Dot Park.

The April 30th event will also offer a chance for neighbors who use the park to lend a hand in keeping it beautiful. Dot Park will be one of dozens across the city that will be cleaned that day through Boston Shines, a city-led effort to spruce up public spaces.

Much more information on all of these events can be found at the website for the Dorchester Park Association at dotpark.info.
-Bill Forry