Condor Street Urban Wild

Your Guide
Kaki Martin, ASLA

Long neglected as a vacant lot, this 4.5 acre property was taken by the city for back taxes and became part of the Urban Wilds Program in the Boston Parks and Recreation Department. When tested as a potential site for wetland mitigation for the Central Artery/Tunnel Project, high concentrations of lead and arsenic were found, precluding it from being used without major remediation. In the late 1990s, the Parks Department received grant money to pursue clean-up and to explore design options for recreation and future access to the Chelsea River.

Hargreaves Associates went through a lengthy public design process with East Boston’s Community Development Corporation (NOAH) acting as community liaison. The process yielded several design schemes and community consensus.

The design kept much of the low-level toxic soil on-site under a protective cap of largely recycled, on-site, concrete tailings, and exported only a small quantity of material off-site. As a result, the previously flat site became undulated with landforms providing prospect up and down the river and views across the site. As an urban wild, the park is a wildlife habitat composed mainly of volunteer plant species. The parks receives minimal maintenance and no irrigation.

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