Spray deck redesign will give Neponset park site a refresh

The existing spray deck at DCR’s Neponset II Park along Hill Top Street. DCR image

Officials from the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) presented a handful of potential new designs for the Neponset Spray Deck located inside a popular riverside park during a public meeting held on Monday night (Feb. 26) at Florian Hall.

The spray deck now on site has “fallen below DCR standards” according to engineer Raul Silva, who presented four potential redesigns to a small group of neighbors. The main issues are that it is too small for the current demand, that much of the equipment is aging or failing, and that the current rubber surface on the ground is aging, which could be a tripping hazard.

Overall, the design that seemed to get the most approval – and is also DCR’s preferred alternative – would keep the overall footprint of the area the same, but increase the amount of rubber surface area so that it can connect to nearby pathways.

A second option that Silva laid out would keep the spray deck layout exactly the same, but update it with new rubber, new piping and new spray features. However, residents were more interested in making the spray deck larger than its current size.

Option 3, one of the two larger designs, would double the spray deck’s size from 3,000 square feet to 6,000 square feet for option 3. The fourth choice would expand the site to 7,300 square feet and add additional benches and shade structures to both.

But residents in attendance were not in favor of either, arguing that surrounding trees would be lost and more shade structures could invite more people to commandeer the sites for birthday parties or other private events.

Some residents brought up the idea of moving the spray deck over to Pope John Paul II Park, closer to a playground and nearby soccer fields. Silva said that while that idea has merit, DCR’s priority is updating the current site due to the problems it poses to the public now.

Another issue that residents discussed included determining the location of new fencing that would strike a balance between protecting kids from the parking lot and the adjacent bike path and deterring dog owners from unleashing their pets onto the spray deck.

The next steps for the project, Silva said, are to gather public comments before going to the Boston Conservation Commission with a final design to obtain the permit to begin construction. Hopefully, he said, the project will be signed off on in June or July, and by the fall they could begin construction. During this upcoming summer, the spray deck will be open to the public in the same condition it is currently in.

Public comments on the project are open until March 11. You can leave a comment at mass.gov/dcr/public comment. You can also view the potential designs at mass.gov/dcr/past-public-meetings under Neponset Spray Deck Design Options Public Meeting 2/26/2024.

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