• Esplanade Association About

EA Highlights

Working with many partners much has been accomplished.

2016: Begun work on the Lotta Fountain, Tree Pruning, Launch of Wayfinding Project

2015: Hatch Shell Oval Restoration, Tree Inventory Management System

2014: Eliot Memorial Revitalization

2013: Formation of Esplanade Family Council, Friends of the Esplanade Playspace and the Esplanade Association merge

2012: Esplanade 2020 unveiled, Composting program started in the park

2011: Privately-funded Esplanade Playspace opened, Community Boating Docks rebuilt

2010: Advocated successfully for better access from the Longfellow Bridge, Free summer programs expanded

2009: Esplanade 2020 launched to create a community vision for the Esplanade’s future

2008: Boat Haven Dock restoration completed

2007: First Esplanade user survey distributed

2006: Teddy Ebersol’s Red Sox Fields restored in partnership with Hill House and the Red Sox Foundation

2005: Park Geese Control Program established, first in Commonwealth

2004: EA’s Park Volunteer Program launched

2003: Gloucester Street Dock renovated

2002: Successfully advocated for the replacement of all of the benches throughout the Charles River Parklands

2001: Built Stoneman Playground and began offering enriching park programs to children and adults

EA Achievements

Since our founding in 2001, the Esplanade Association has worked tirelessly to revitalize and enhance the Charles River Esplanade, preserve natural green space, and build community by providing educational, cultural and recreational programs for everyone.

Improving Park Aesthetics, Health and Safety through Volunteerism ▼

In 2004 the Esplanade Association launched our successful Volunteer Program, giving the community access to an ongoing and organized volunteer program at the park. The Esplanade Association’s volunteer program gives both groups and individuals a means for giving back to the Esplanade. The volunteer program brings 3,000 volunteers to the park every year to help maintain, clean, and beautify the park. The program has won numerous awards from organizations such as REI, BostonCares and BC/BS.

Enhancing the Park Visitor’s Experience through Improved Amenities ▼

The Esplanade is well-used by runners, bikers, and walkers. For years, existing water fountains were not adequate for the parks existing users. The Esplanade Association raised funds to support a study of the existing system and the installation in 2009 of five new fountains that are handicapped accessible and child friendly. These new fountains keep exercisers hydrated and several fountains offer a special spigot for filling up water bottles and can serve as a water bowl for canines.

Improving Water Access and Rehabilitating Essential Summer Spots ▼

The Esplanade’s docks are an essential part of the parks character as a dynamic riverside park. Today the docks serve as both landings for visiting boats and as popular spots for relaxing, however, prior to EA’s involvement, the docks were deteriorating and unsafe for use. In working with both public and private partners, the Esplanade Association has proudly rehabilitated all three docks throughout the park.

In 2003, the historic Gloucester Street dock was re-decked, marking the first restoration in over a decade. In 2006, the River Dock near the park’s Arthur Fielder head was replaced and enhanced lighting and electrical capacity were added. Most recently, in 2011, the Esplanade Association completed replacement of the Community Boating, Inc. docks. The new docks will expand universal access to sailors with disabilities and will continue to be an essential spot for learning and relaxation.

Bringing Play Back to the Park ▼

In 2001, a once vibrant and active play space on the Esplanade had, over the years, become rundown and neglected. EA along with a group of passionate community members came together to raise funds and restore this space, resulting in the installation of the Stoneman Playground. In 2009 several local Boston residents united after recognizing the need for more adequate outdoor play space for children ages 5-12. Over a two year period the group, led by EA Executive Director, Tani Marinovich, raised over $1.5 million dollars for the Playspace’s construction and maintenance. The Esplanade Playspace was completed in 2011 and has gained recognition for its state-of-the-art design.

Creating World Class Sports Fields ▼

Children have learned to play baseball and soccer at the ball fields at Lederman Park for decades, but by the turn of the millennium these beloved fields were ailing from years of overuse. In 2005 a new public-private partnership was formed by the Esplanade Association, Hill House, The Red Sox Foundation, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, and the MA Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (EOEA) to restore the worn out fields. Together with our nonprofit partners, the Esplanade Association helped to raise more than $2 million to fund the complete revitalization of the Teddy Ebersol’s Red Sox Fields. The new fields are named in honor of Teddy Ebersol, the youngest son of Dick Ebersol and Susan Saint James, who was killed tragically in a plane crash in 2004. Teddy was a passionate Red Sox fan, and the fields are a vibrant memorial in Teddy’s honor.

Developing a Vision for the Esplanade’s Future ▼

The scenic Charles River Esplanade is one of the most beautiful and intensely used parks in the New England area. An estimated three million individuals visit the Esplanade annually and as many as 20,000 people enter the park on a typical summer’s day. To celebrate the 2010 Centennial of the park, the Esplanade Association mobilized the community to forge Esplanade 2020, a shared vision for the park’s future. Esplanade 2020 creates a vision and long-term plan for the park’s restoration and enhanced maintenance.

Caring for the Parks Trees ▼

The Esplanade is home to over 1,700 trees. In 2014 the Esplanade Association, with the support of Garden Club of the Back Bay and the Beacon Hill Garden Club, commissioned the first complete tree inventory for the parkland. In 2015 EA implemented a new state-of-the-art tree inventory control and tagging system using Arborscope, the latest cloud-based technology. At the individual level every tree was fully evaluated and extensive GPS mapping capabilities allowed us to pinpoint each tree location in the park. This will serve to greatly inform our regular tree maintenance and contribute to long term planning to preserve the park tree canopy.

Protecting Historic Park Features ▼

EA strongly believes in protecting the historic integrity of the park. In 2014 the Esplanade Association, in partnership with the DCR, completed the Revitalization of the Eliot Memorial. In keeping with the intentions of Arthur Shurcliff, EA transformed the decaying site into an inviting gathering spot for Esplanade visitors by offering new seating, improved views, and enhanced plantings. In 2015, EA completed the restoration of another historic gathering area, the Hatch Shell Oval Lawn. EA raised an impressive $700,000 and was able to take the project from design to completion in a mere 18 months. The result is a healthier, greener lawn with improved infrastructure so that it is more able to withstand heavy use.

In 2016 the Esplanade Association has plans to restore the historic Lotta Fountain. The six-foot granite fountain by sculptor Katherine Lane Weems was constructed in 1939 in the name of entertainer and philanthropist Lotta Crabtree, for the benefit of thirsty dogs. The Esplanade Association seeks to refurbish this iconic fountain so that it can be restored to a place of cultural significance, public pride, and active use.

Improving Park Accessibility through Advocacy ▼

With the Department of Transportation (DOT) undertaking a large scale restoration of the Longfellow Bridge, the Esplanade Association acted swiftly in 2010 to present a working design and solid case for improved connections to the Esplanade and parkland on the Cambridge side. Better connections will improve the experience of all users and address some of the most difficult conditions for pedestrians. Construction for the project began in 2015.