Coppens Square rehab ‘reveal’ is set for today

An early 20th century postcard depicts the fountain as it once appeared in Coppens Square. Image courtesy Earl Taylor/DHS

Finalized renovation plans for Coppens Square, a small green space on Meetinghouse Hill between Bowdoin and Adams Street, will be made public at a virtual community meeting to be held next Tuesday (Aug. 18) from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The event will mark the latest step in a nearly four-year planning process for a project that Ed Cook, president of the Friends of Coppens Square (FOCS), called “painfully slow, but not without successes.”

Following the meeting, the project will be designated as “shovel-ready,” a status that will add it to the capital budget next year and provide improved opportunities for other funding. 

Coppens Square was originally the site of an ornate, 26-foot tall fountain known as Lyman Fountain, which was built in the mid-19th century in honor of Boston Mayor Theodore Lyman, Jr., who started the city’s first campaign for a clean water system. It was later replaced by a smaller fountain that has been inactive since the 1970s. Cook’s efforts to get the fountain’s water flowing again date back to a 2014 column in the Reporter.

FOCS was awarded a $100K grant from Boston’s Community Preservation Committee in April 2019. The funding was used by the Parks and Recreation Department to hire CBA, a landscape architect firm based in Cambridge. Over the past year, Parks and Rec project manager Nathan Frazee has worked with CBA and the Friends group to develop a final plan that includes a facelift to the square and a design for a new fountain.

Cook described the plan as “thorough, professional, and elegant.”

Next Tuesday’s webinar will include presentations by Frazee and CBA. Translation services will be available and can be arranged by contacting nathan.frazee@boston.gov. The virtual meeting can be accessed at boston.gov/calendar/coppens-square-community-briefing.