News & Updates

Mayor Menino Breaks Ground on Mary Soo Hoo Park in Chinatown

Jul 15, 2011

On Friday, July 15, Mayor Thomas M. Menino joined members of the Soo Hoo family, the Chinatown community, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, MassDOT, the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy and the Museum of Fine Arts to celebrate the groundbreaking of Mary Soo Hoo Park. During the ceremony, the Mayor announced that the MFA is partnering with the City to temporarily improve the façade of MassDOT’s Beach Street vent tower by installing an art scroll from its Chinese landscape collection. The scroll, which will include a mountain image, will help the vent blend into the new park as the park’s boundaries will now extend to wrap around the vent structure. “It’s great to be here in Chinatown today as we break ground on Mary Soo Hoo Park,” Mayor Menino said. “Mary Soo Hoo was a beloved advocate who worked tirelessly for the Chinatown community and I’m so proud that we’re able to honor her in this way. This new park will be welcoming to residents and visitors of all ages and will be greatly improved with new landscaping, seating and gaming tables, lighting and sculptural elements. I want to thank the MFA for their artistic contribution, MassDOT for committing funds toward the renovations, the BRA for selecting the park designer and running the community design process and the Greenway Conservancy for maintaining the park.” The new design includes the following elements: all new pavements, generous landscaped areas at the park’s street edges, retention of the existing park tree canopy, new park seating and gaming tables for Chinese chess, retention of the existing planting bed and granite seat wall at the north east corner of the park, refabrication and expansion of the park's iconic red perimeter fence (funded by the Edward Ingersoll Browne Fund), new park lighting to match Chinatown Park, and sculptural granite mounds meant to evoke the mountainous landscape of homeland China and scaled as an element of interest for children. In the fall of 2009, the BRA was asked to assist the community with a process to discuss the park’s renovation and to reconnect it to Chinatown Park which was completed in 2007. The BRA funded the hire of a multi-disciplinary consultant team lead by Stephen Stimson Associates, Inc. to work with the community to realize the park renovation. The team engaged in numerous meetings with BRA staff, Greenway Conservancy staff, MassDOT staff, and community park stakeholders – including four meetings with the Chinatown community. Through these efforts, a preferred design concept was reached, and a new name for the park emerged – Mary Soo Hoo Park – in honor of the late community activist, Chinatown business owner, and safety and open space advocate. The Chinatown Gateway Park was originally built in 1983, on land owned by MassDOT, as a complement to the installation of the adjacent historic Chinatown Gate. MassDOT committed $190,000 toward the renovations. The Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy will provide future maintenance of the park. The park is expected to be open this fall.

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