IMPROVEMENTS TO COLLINS PARK, ALLSTON
The goal for the new design is to create a park that is open visually and physically but within the park, one has a sense of enclosure and solitude.
The Friends of Collins Park is proposing a complete redesign of the current park at the intersection of Franklin, Holton, and Fern Streets in Lower Allston. Named in tribute to a local resident who gave his life in WWII, the park is at the bend along what was the most direct path between Cambridge and Boston in the
17th C. Perhaps the oldest public space in Allston.
The first proposed design action is removal of the chain link fence surrounding the site. This will provide visual and actual access to new landscape features, allowing ease of maintenance and trash removal, reduced “dog park” issues, and provide full corner-to-corner walking and wheelchair accessibility through the park.
Next, the two existing large trees have been considered from many points of view and reviewed by a local registered arborist. Proposed is to prune and shape the White Pine at the south edge of the park allowing the sun to enter, and cleaning up a tangle of shallow roots that prevents all but the most weedy landscape to survive. This multi-stemmed tree is susceptible to breaking, the tree will be carefully evaluated and monitored to consider further work with the goal of avoiding potential danger during storms. The remaining Black Locust tree along the Franklin Street side will be shaped, pruned for safety, and cable stabilized.
Opening up the park’s ground plain, and expanding one side of the park into an unused sidewalk area, allows for new planting sites and room for individual and group seating with tables. A perfect place for a coffee break, lunch, or a picnic. The existing flip board, built by a local artist and her father, is a major draw to the park with people consistently stopping to engage with it. Proposed is an upgrade of stainless steel and powder-coated metal, and relocation near the existing post box to eliminate the traffic blind spot in its current location. Anew vertical overhead element, an ‘elevated fence or canopy’ of transparent perforated metal, is envisioned that will allow free movement through the park while providing a feeling of containment at the park’s edge. This structure will complement the planned tribute to SargentCollins, an abstracted replica of his WWII era plane mounted ten feet above the ground near the corner of Fern and Franklin Streets. A tribute plaque with specific memorial text, and additional text honoring all servicemen and women, will be installed. These elements will be illuminated at night to improve safety, this will become a beacon to the surrounding neighborhood inviting all to come to the park.
Walking surfaces between the new landscape elements will be level, and smooth, built with fully accessible stabilized crushed stone. Surface grading will be slightly crowned in the middle of the park to direct site runoff and stormwater in a sustainable way to perimeter landscaped infiltration swales at the park’s edge.
New planting is planned with New England native perennials, pollinator-attracting plants, fragrant herbs, and annuals and low evergreens protected within raised beds. Proposed is an additional feature replacement tree, Liriodendron tulipifera (Tulip tree), a stately deciduous tree native to Eastern North America. It is fast-growing and will offer shade in the summer while letting light in during spring and fall.
The current flagpole will be relocated from its current location to increase visibility with sightlines along Franklin Street, and to receive direct illumination from an existing street light. We would like to see water service and power to the park, this will enable the City and the Friends of Collins Park to clean and maintain the area on a regular basis.