City Parks to Get Beautified with Help from $450K Grant

Three spots in Roxbury will be spruced up.

“Pockets of beauty” where residents enjoy open park space in the Roxbury neighborhood are poised to get a little life injected into them thanks to $450,000 in grant money that’s awaiting City Council approval.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Department recently grabbed hold of the large sum of money from the state’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affair’s Urban Parks Grant Program.

Once the City Council OKs the use of the grant funding, an action that’s a mere formality, officials from the parks department plan on spending the cash on three historic spots in Roxbury: the Eliot Burying Grounds, the Puddingstone Garden, and the Buena Vista Urban Wilds.

“There is a lot of restoration work and we want to add new pathways and signage over three different parks,” said Ryan Woods, director of external affairs for the Boston Parks and Recreation Department. “The grant is allowing us to do work we would not have been able to do otherwise.”

Woods said at the Buena Vista Urban Wilds, which is also know as Warren Gardens, a bramble-and-bush covered rock cliff that’s bordered by Warren Street, Richard Street, and Circuit Street, workers will now be able to tackle some of the overgrowth to make the space more accessible to residents.

“The Urban Wilds are like our parks that are mini-forests,” he said. “There’s stuff that we don’t have maintenance crews out there taking care of, so one thing is we will be taking down invasive [plants] and making room for benches and walkways.”

At the Puddingstone Garden, a neighborhood park off of Blue Hill Avenue, Woods said the city plans on fixing up existing benches and pathways, as well as the fencing that surrounds the park space. A memorial for a long-time Roxbury resident who often spent time keeping the area clean will also be installed.

“We are grateful that we will be able to get some money for this. It will make for more accessible pathways, and fixes to the deteriorating fence,” he said.

Puddingstone is considered a “relic” of Boston due to its “outcroppings” of puddingstone bedrock that stick out of the landscape.

A bit of the money will also go toward maintaining one of Boston’s 16 historic burial grounds, where thin tombstones poke through the grassy knolls.

Woods said the Eliot Burying Ground, formerly known as the “Old Roxbury Burying Ground,” one of the three oldest in the city, will also benefit from the state’s grant funding.

Woods said work on the parks will start this year, sometime in the late fall, before the ground starts to freeze over as winter approaches.