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Dorchester Heights National Historic Monument upgrades expected to take a hiatus during government shutdown

Posted by Patrick Rosso  October 1, 2013 11:46 AM

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(Patrick D. Rosso/

Construction crews continued to work Tuesday morning.

Although for many the government shutdown, set in motion over a spat about the Affordable Care Act, will go unnoticed, those who frequent Thomas Park and the Dorchester Heights National Monument could see some impacts.

The park, located at the top of Telegraph Street in South Boston and managed by the National Parks Service, is a cherished location for dog walkers, residents, and those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the urban neighborhood.

Although surrounded by a short fence, there is no gate restricting access to the site. So, although the park has been “closed” by the National Parks Service due to the shutdown, entry will not be restricted.

“There’s no means to lock a gate and we’re not going to go up and erect something to stop people, but it is technically closed,” Sean Hennessey, a public affairs officer with the National Parks Service, told Tuesday.

Access to the park might not be restricted, but one impact that will be noticed is the halt in repairs that are currently being made to the park.

Since late August, crews with Cornerstone Construction Services have been making a series of repairs and upgrades to the site as part of a $240,000 project. Crews were still working Tuesday, but Hennessey said the work could stop shortly.

“They’re doing what they can until they get the official notice to stop work,” explained Hennessey. “But we are in a pretty good place right now in terms of the work.”

Excavation work to prepare the site for new trees has been completed and close to 75 percent of the work on the park’s irrigation system has been finished.

On Tuesday, crews were busy removing the park’s broken water fountain and preparing to replace it with a new one, which has been delivered. Crews were also busy completing the holes for the park’s new bollards, according to Hennessey.

It is not certain how long the government shutdown will last and what its exact impacts will be on the park, but Hennessey said construction crews will continue to work until they are ordered to stop.

For more coverage of the government shutdown via, click here.

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