There are a total of 16 playgrounds in Jamaica Plain managed by either Massachusetts' Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) or the Boston Parks and Recreation Department. So how accessible are all of them? The 16 playgrounds have varied features including age-based play structures, splash pads, spray decks, athletic fields, swings, a sandbox, and more. Currently, DCR is assessing opportunities to make improvements at their agency-managed playgrounds across the Commonwealth. In Jamaica Plain, DCR manages nine sites that include playgrounds, spray decks, benches, gardens, and sport courts.
In 2018, the state's Department of Conservation and Recreation announced that a site by Oakdale Street on the Southwest Corridor Park was selected to become a dog park. That proposal never came to fruition, and it doesn't look like it's going to happen anytime soon. The Oakdale Street site was chosen after public meetings and the discussion of three proposed sites. At the time there seemed to be overwhelming support for a dog park in Jamaica Plain. Fast forward to 2020 and DCR got a new commissioner with Jim Montgomery, who performed a review and evaluation of many projects.
Sorry Jamaica Plain dog lovers -- you're going to have wait longer for an off-leash dog park. Back in 2018, DCR announced that a location by Oakdale Street, which is already used as a renegade dog park, would be the site of a large off-leash dog park. Since then no shovels have hit the ground, merely just renegade paws. That leads us to February 5, 2020, when Jim Montgomery was named the new commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Montgomery decided to pause numerous proposed projects, including the Jamaica Plain dog park within the Southwest Corridor Park.
The state's Department of Conservation and Recreation is providing $50,000 on top of $25,000 from Converse and Wheels of Steel to renovate an existing skateboarding rink on the Southwest Corridor.
The rink is between the Green Street and Stonybrook MBTA stations and has makeshift skateboarding ramps. “I’m incredible grateful for the partnership between DCR, Converse, and Wheels of Steel, which will fund the much-needed renovation of an outdoor recreational space for our community’s youth and future generations to come,” said state Rep. Liz Malia (D-11th Suffolk). Every year, the DCR accepts applications from organizations to provide funds for park improvements that are matched by DCR. DCR doubled the combined $25,000 donation from Converse and Wheels of Steel, giving $50,000, for a total budget of $75,000. The project is expected to go out to bid this winter and DCR would like to start work during the spring.
After years of Jamaica Plain residents battling to get a dog park in the neighborhood, it looks like that dream will come to fruition -- and it's going to be an impressively big one, too! The dog park will eventually be built by Oakdale Street near the train tracks. and an initial proposal was for a 60,000 sq. ft. site.