Top 10 Boston Parks moments of 2021

Yoshiko Yap

Join us as we count down Boston Parks and Recreation’s “Top 10 Moments” of 2021.

Join us as we count down our “Top 10 Moments” of 2021 and reflect on some of our proudest moments as a department and as a community. 

#10: Boston’s first urban forest plan kicked off in 2021 and will wrap up this spring.
Urban Forest Plan - measuring trees.

The Boston Urban Forest Plan is a year-long effort made up of several phases. The first part of our work was the urban forest street tree inventory — an assessment of the existing conditions of the public street trees throughout Boston, which we just completed. The data collected during this tree inventory provides an important snapshot in time of the condition of Boston’s street trees. Now that the inventory and assessment is complete, we’ll be diving into the data to see what it tells us about this piece of the urban forest. And we’ll be delivering a report with recommendations this spring.

#9: Our animal care and control division continues to care for our furry and feathered friends.
Tammy the cat

Say hello to Tammy, one of Boston’s firehouse cats! Tammy was a nine-week-old kitten who was discovered in a storm drain and rescued by Boston firefighters and Animal Care and Control. Those same firefighters were reunited with Tammy at City of Boston Animal Care and Control when they officially adopted her!

#8: George Wright Golf Course and William J. Devine Golf Course offer challenging golf courses in a beautiful natural setting.
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The City owns and operates the William J. Devine Golf Course in Dorchester and the George Wright Golf Course in Hyde Park designed by Donald Ross. Both have received national accolades as must-play courses when golfing in the Boston area. These affordable courses were open and available to all! This year we had over 40,000 rounds of golf played between the two courses.

#7: The Mayor’s Mural Crew enhanced the style and visual landscape of our parks and Boston’s Neighborhoods.
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Throughout the year and across the city the Mayor’s Mural Crew continues to impress. Celebrating its 30th year of employing Boston high schoolers to create large-scale public art projects across Boston’s neighborhoods and City parks.

During the month of July 2021, the Mayor’s Mural Crew painted “Tout Moun Se Moun/One Love: Mattapan Tap Tap Mural,” a 50 foot by 18 foot mural located at the rear entrance of Chase Bank on Blue Hill Avenue. In August, the crew painted “Eat What You Grow Reap What You Sow,” a 31 foot by 14 foot mural at the corner of Topalian Street and Edgewater Drive, along the Neponset River.

#6: Wild Wednesdays hikes brought interpretive programming back to Boston’s Parks.
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Throughout the summer Park Rangers and Boston Parks employees led groups of eager hikers through the urban wilds of Boston. These short hikes were a fantastic opportunity for folks to enjoy Boston’s Urban Wilds.

Interpretive Programming is one of the Park Rangers three primary areas of responsibilities and we were ecstatic to bring these scheduled programs back to the people of Boston. We hope 2022 will bring even more scheduled interpretive programs!

#5: We expanded our language access and developed multilingual programming in our parks.
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Our Storywalk program invited families to visit our parks and encouraged reading as we displayed books in 9 languages in parks and playgrounds across the city. Additionally, we offer interpretation and translation services for all of our Design and Construction Community meetings, so make sure your voice is heard!

#4: Our Design and Construction Division cut the ribbon and welcomed folks to newly renovated parks throughout the City of Boston.
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We celebrated more than a dozen projects completed this year along with more than a dozen projects in the construction phase. Looking ahead we have quite a few designs complete and in progress. 

Franklin Park Action Plan work continued in 2021. The Parks Department and Design Team hosted community conversations to discuss activation nodes and catalyst projects. Boston Common Master Plan development continued, in preparation for a 2022 final report.

To see all of our Design and Construction projects going on throughout the city visit the project map here 

Here are a few highlights from this past year:

#3: We built out our team with a number of new hires including key senior staff positions.
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In addition to welcoming a new environmentally conscious Mayor and Chief of Environment, Energy and Open Space we were happy to add more than two dozen amazing individuals to our team, including new hires to senior staff positions. 

We are still looking to add a number of awesome individuals to our team. If you are interested in joining a compassionate team visit for more information on our open positions within the Parks Department.

Say hello if you have not done so yet:

#2: Our operations staff worked hard to keep our parks safe, beautiful, and clean.
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With Bostonians using our parks more than ever, our operations staff stepped up to the needs of the time. While maintaining and cleaning our parks they also addressed more than 8,000 311 calls. Thank you to the hard working men and women of cemeteries, maintenance, horticulture, trees, and trades for keeping our parks and properties looking great. 

#1: We safely returned to in-person events.
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After last year’s events were canceled, we were happy to safely return to in-person events and activities in our parks.

Despite one of the rainiest summers in recent memory, we served more than an estimated 20,000 people through our programming. Our Summer Concert Series and Movie Nights entertained thousands across the City. Watercolor workshops and arts and crafts workshops helped kids express themselves and appreciate our parks. The children’s festivals returned with large yet manageable attendance and high acclaim. The Parks Department’s holiday tree lightings drew thousands and kicked off the holiday season with spirited celebrations.

Free Winter and Summer classes kept more than 5,200 Bostonians moving during 488 hours of free virtual and in-person classes including bootcamps, chair yoga, line dancing, barre, HIIT, Yoga, Family fitness, Afrobeats Bootcamp, Tai Chi and Salsa. Summer Sport Centers were conducted at East Boston Stadium, Garvey Park in Dorchester, Hunt/Almont in Mattapan, M Street Park in South Boston, and White Stadium at Franklin Park where 6,830 kids were able to safely participate in activities such as archery, obstacle courses, sports clinics, fitness classes, arts and crafts, and more. 

Our permitting division issued quite a few permits for events and sports programs in our parks throughout the City.

2021 was a good year and we are looking forward to what 2022 brings!

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