Public meeting to focus on Moakley Park ‘vision plan’

The fourth community meeting for the Moakley Park Vision Plan, scheduled for Thurs., March 21 in South Boston, will feature a “concept” plan and a discussion of what comes next toward implementation, according to city officials.

In three previous sessions, community members were invited to help re-design the park by identifying how they use it and what features they would like to see at the site. The final meeting will deal with the final concept and invite the public to give feedback.

The Thursday meeting will be held at the Ironworkers Union Hall on Old Colony Avenue from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Allison Perlman, project manager of Boston Parks and Recreation Department, said that attendees can expect to hear how a re-design of Moakley Park will relate to other nearby projects and larger plans for coastal resiliency. The vision plan hopes to transform Moakley Park into a buffer zone for climate change impact on Boston.

“A lot of the comments we received really informed the plan,” Perlman said. “It’s great to hear from people who’ve used the park for many years and people who live right next door but never used it.”

Kathy Abbott, president of Boston Harbor Now, an organization that works “to realize Boston Harbor’s full potential,” said each time she saw the plan of the park, “it’s getting better.”

Abbott noted that Moakley Park, the largest waterfront park in Boston, is a major flood pathway to the city. As sea level rises, a major storm could bring sea water across the park into South Boston, Dorchester, up to the expressway and even to the South End.

She added that the park needs to tie in with other elevated areas to protect the city against flooding. “How to make it a better park to serve the residents while at the same time developing it in such a way that it provides climate resiliency is really critical and an exciting drive for this whole thing.”

The plan would maintain the athletic fields, she said, but diversify the uses of the park to serve more people. For instance, there could be grills for families to use in the summer.

Following the meeting, Perlman said, there will be studies on how the design considers coastal flooding before there is a move to implementation. Construction could start in 2021, but “it’s hard to say,” she said.