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Boston Harbor Islands, Rose Kennedy Greenway want ideas for ‘underutilized’ parcels

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Islands’ welcome center and greenway’s Parcel 12 could use some sprucing up, say the nonprofits behind them

Photo via the Greenway Conservancy

Boston Harbor Now and the Greenway Conservancy are looking for ideas to spruce up two downtown Boston areas associated with the nonprofits, the Boston Harbor Islands Welcome Center and Parcel 12 along the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

The groups jointly announced their requests for expressions of interests in each on July 22. The idea behind both requests is a desire to make the welcome and the parcel more inviting by making each more akin to a public park or plaza.

Owned by the National Park Service and managed by Boston Harbor Now, the welcome center—a.k.a. the Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion—is at 191 West Atlantic Avenue. The park service and the nonprofit “invite creative entrepreneurs, companies, agencies, and artists to pilot activating an urban oasis” using the approximately 4,600-square-foot space, which Boston Harbor Now describes as “the gateway to Boston Harbor and the center of the city’s most popular attractions ...”

Michael Creasey, superintendent of the National Parks of Boston described the ultimate goal in a statement. “Our hope is that the Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion becomes the front porch to gather, relax and plan trips to Boston’s Harbor Islands, walks along the Freedom Trail, and other experiences in the city,” he said.

Parcel 12 is located along the Greenway between North and Mercantile streets, next to the Dock Square Garage (which itself is about to undergo some major changes). The parcel in the past has hosted a zipline, public art installations, and even shipping container galleries (see photo at top).

This latest request is for all or a portion of the crescent-shaped, approximately 8,000-square-foot spit of parkland. The Greenway Conservancy wants ideas that complement existing Greenway offerings. The winning idea could be installed in 2020 and stay there up to three years.

“Continuing the Greenway Conservancy’s tradition of bringing creative innovations to our public park, we look forward to once again seeing the ingenuity of the community in helping make the Greenway a place to gather, play, unwind, and explore,” Jesse Brackenbury, the Greenway Conservancy’s executive director, said in a statement.

Both requests for ideas are due at noon on September 16. Stay tuned.