Neighbors celebrate new-and-improved Byrne Playground

Jammin' at Byrne Playground: Photo by Alex OwensJammin' at Byrne Playground: Photo by Alex Owens
Mayor Menino and City Councillor Maureen Feeney were on hand to mark the rededication of Byrne Playground in Dorchester’s Clam Point village on Tuesday afternoon. A renovation project started a year ago, after local residents complained of local teens hanging out at the park after hours and disturbing the neighborhood with noisy basketball games. The basketball courts have now been replaced with street hockey and tennis courts.
The park has also been updated with new sprinklers and water fountains, trees and fences, totaling $350,000 in funding from Mayor Menino’s Capital Improvement Program. 
“Older kids were here 24/7. Now the park closes at dusk…It’s much more of a neighborhood park, now,” said Helen McChesney, a member of the Clam Point Civic Association Executive Board. The Parks and Recreation Department worked closely with Clam Point to redesign the park around community needs, she said.
Most residents echoed feelings of satisfaction as guests at the afternoon ceremony enjoyed refreshments while local kids were treated to free face painting and music.
There were a few complaints. “The city needs to put hockey nets in,” commented local resident John Joyce. “The fences are a bit too short,” said Marilyn Gibbons. “It’s on a busy street, so balls can bounce over then fence, and then kids would hop over it.”
Overall, the feeling was positive, however. “They did a fantastic job! We love the park!” said local parents Mary Connolly and Mary Hayes. “It’s beautiful!” said Nicole Reed “I love this neighborhood. You’re still in the city, but it feels like you are in the suburbs!”