Creatures from land and from sea will soon parade around in a shady grove of trees in the heart of Boston as the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy prepares to start work on a permanent carousel for the Greenway and a lush landscape to surround it.
The Greenway Conservancy, a private non-profit that manages the 1.5 mile park, plans to announce Thursday that it will begin work next week on its carousel project after receiving a $1.5 million grant from the Tiffany & Co. Foundation to fund the area’s landscaping.
On the parkland between Faneuil Hall Marketplace and Christopher Columbus Park, the new carousel and its unusual creatures—lobsters, butterflies, foxes, sea lions, and falcons among others—will be surrounded by newly planted shrubs, flowers and 25 trees that will offer shade and block the commotion of the city.
“We are as excited about that as we are the carousel itself,” Linda Jonash, the Conservancy’s director of planning and design, said in a phone interview Wednesday. “It will be really a destination—‘let’s go to where the big grove of trees are.’”
The nearly 20,000 square-foot area, that will be known as the Tiffany & Co. Foundation Grove at Carousel Park, will have a mix of red maples, oaks, magnolia trees, honey locusts, and sweet gum trees, as well as planted beds on the eastern, western, and northern perimeters, and seating.
While a more traditional carousel currently leases space from the Greenway and shares profits with the conservancy, the conservancy’s $3 million carousel project is set to improve the parcel between the Harbor Island Pavilion and the Armenian Heritage Park and offer a one-of-a-kind ride.
“The notion of having the Greenway be about contemporary Boston and the future, and something that is going to be unique led us to the effort to a new carousel,” said Jonash, who noted that antique carousels were expensive to purchase and renovate, and many were too large to properly fit in the space.
The custom-designed carousel will feature 14 local animals sculpted by
Massachusetts artist and carousel craftsman, Jeffrey Briggs, a wooden leaning rail for spectators, a ticket booth, and a winter enclosure which will turn the carousel into a glowing box in the winter.
The characters were based on drawings of Boston school children and the carousel will be the only fully accessible one in New England.
“This carousel will really bring a lot to that particular area and activate that park area much more than it has in the past,” said Jodi Wolin, director of development for the Greenway. “It’s an opportunity for families to gather and be surrounded by an incredible landscape.”
Private donations accounted for 95 percent of the project’s funding, with the remainder provided by a competitive grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
“There were many donors who wanted to fund the carousel itself, and not as many interested in the horticulture,” Wolin said. “It couldn’t have happened without this partnership”
The new carousel, set to open on Labor Day, will cost $3 per ride--the same as the previous carousel--and its revenues will fund the Greenway’s free public programs and other offerings. The organization is still working to determine projected revenue.
Fernanda Kellogg, chairwoman of the Tiffany & Co. Foundation, said the project fit perfectly with the foundation’s mission to beautify and enhance urban parks.
“We loved the location...It was exciting when we got to hear a little bit more about the project--it was very instant for us to say we want to be a part of it,” said Kellogg, who applauded the Conservancy’s planning, and attention to aesthetics and plantings.
The $1.5 million grant is one of the larger gifts the foundation has awarded. It awards between seven to twelve grants per year.
“Some of our projects take two or three years. This is almost instant gratification which is very exciting,” she said.
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