New Light on the Neponset
Near Boston, a public/private partnership "daylights" a stretch
By Thomas S. Benjamin, ASLA, Amy Green, and Ken Deshais
Image Courtesy Rizzo Associates, Inc.
The building of the New England Patriots' new Gillette Stadium
(completed and opened in 2002) provided an opportunity to restore
a 3,300-foot-long stretch of the Neponset River in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
In the case of the Neponset, the river restoration coincided with
the Patriots' need to provide a large new parking area for the new
68,000-seat, multiuse stadium. Building a racetrack on the site
in the 1940s had required that the river be realigned and entombed
in an underground culvert up- and downstream of the track. The silt-clogged
culverted and open portions of the Neponset ran directly across
the old racetrack and adjacent to the new stadium site precisely
where the necessity for parking was greatest. The new stadium needed
parking close to the facility, and the Neponset needed "daylighting"
and restoration. Both goals were achieved in the Neponset River
Restoration Project, which was finished some months before the new
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