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Boston City Hall Plaza overhaul to include seasonal fountain, trees

$60 million project means no Boston Winter this year, though

Boston Globe via Getty Images

Boston is moving forward with a long-planned overhaul of its City Hall Plaza beginning later this year.

The city will start testing the plaza’s infrastructure in the fall and continue it through the winter, with major work set to begin in 2019 and expected to last five years.

What is that work supposed to produce? Plans call for a seasonal fountain and tree-shaded gathering spots. Boston also intends to renovate the North Side entrance of City Hall, which has been off-limits to the public since just after the turn of the century.

The work is set to include major upgrades to the nuts and bolts of the tundra-like civic expanse as well, including its tap water access, electricity, and data lines.

The overhaul will mean no Boston Winter, however. The annual event, which first launched in 2016, drew 300,000 visitors last fall and winter with attractions such as ice-skating and food vendors. The current Patios—a kind of summer edition of Boston Winter—is expected to continue uninterrupted through the early fall.

It was the logistical headaches that the organizers of Boston Winter and the Patios encountered that lead the city to move on the overhaul plan, per the Globe’s Milton J. Valencia. Plans for a Ferris wheel, for instance, were nixed because the plaza probably couldn’t support such an attraction—it’s built on an abandoned subway tunnel.