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New Light on the Neponset
Near Boston, a public/private partnership "daylights" a stretch of river.
By Thomas S. Benjamin, ASLA, Amy Green, and Ken Deshais

Image Courtesy Rizzo Associates, Inc.
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 stadium.

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