Northeastern’s $26 Million Park Renovation Plan Will Benefit Students, City Residents

Carter Playground will undergo a complete update over the next year.

Carter Playground

A rendering of the new Carter Playground. Image provided to

Continuing its recent string of construction projects, Northeastern University has announced plans for a $26 million renovation to William E. Carter Playground on Columbus Avenue.

The best part? The new-and-improved park will be open to both city residents and Northeastern students. The finished product—estimated to reopen sometime in 2017—will include regulation-sized baseball and football fields, five new tennis courts, a children’s playground, an overhead dome over some of the fields for year-round use, a “passive park” for lounging and enjoying green space, and improvements to existing infrastructure.

“We took this park, which was a heavily used park and is not in the best shape right now, and with this partnership with Northeastern we’re going to make this a state-of-the-art facility for the residents to use,” explains Ryan Woods, director of external affairs at the Boston Parks & Recreation Department.

In announcement from Northeastern, Mayor Marty Walsh also praised the partnership and what it will do for the community:

“I am deeply grateful to North­eastern for this gen­erous con­tri­bu­tion and their part­ner­ship with our city,” said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “The trans­formed Carter Play­ground will open up new oppor­tu­ni­ties for Boston’s young people and for the future of the neighborhood.”

Northeastern is funding the entire project itself, and the university will be responsible for maintaining the space once renovations are complete. The school’s intramural and club athletics will be granted first priority at certain times of the day, and Parks & Recreation will issue permits to area schools, sports leagues, and community groups that wish to use the space. Woods notes that none of the teams and community groups already using the park will lose their current permits.

Northeastern has not always been popular with its neighbors, specifically in the Mission Hill neighborhood, but the effects of the Carter Playground renovations could have huge benefits for the larger Boston community. “The more parks that are heavily programmed with positive programming, it pushes out the negativity,” Woods says. “The leagues will be able to play with a sense of pride—this is their home field.”