BOSTON (CBS) – A little more than a year from now, a space along Fort Point Channel, next to the Boston Children’s Museum, will be home to an innovative new playground called Martin’s Park. “I’m going to see one of the best parks the city of Boston has built in a very long time and it’s going to be something pretty special,” said Bill Richard.
The park will be special for its location and for its namesake: Bill Richard’s son, Martin, the youngest victim of the Boston Marathon bombings. “People were so incredibly kind to us when everything happened,” Richard said. “We really do see this as our gift, it’s really everyone’s gift, back to Boston.”
The park is, in part, inspired by how Richard saw his own kids playing when they were little. “It’s not going to just be play equipment but a lot of natural climbing structures, like stones. Kids love to climb on rocks and Martin loved to climb on rocks and he loved to be able to just find his way around and get lost in a park.” The new playground will have lots to climb on including a play ship, rope climber, and slides. Those slides will be part of a new embankment built over an existing parking lot.
And the entire Richard family has been involved with the design. “The kids have been involved, Denise and I have been very much involved,” Richard said. “The Parks Department has been incredibly gracious to us allowing us to be very much involved with the design.” One design requirement was accessibility. Kids of all abilities will be able to enjoy Martin’s park.
“Over here, in this area, we will have an amazing feature, a giant boat that’s fully accessible from all levels and you’ll be able to raise sails on it and everything,” explained Boston Parks and Recreation Commissioner Chris Cook. Right now he’s pointing to an empty spot of grass with a few trees. The Commissioner acknowledges it will be a challenge building over the Silver Line, but it’s been a rewarding challenge. “Not only who we are doing it for, and the family we are doing it for, but also the fact that this is a neighborhood that really deserves a park.”
For Bill Richard, the outpouring of support for this project has been overwhelming. “The community at large they’ve all had our backs with this project. We’ve had some incredible corporate and private foundation support but the amount of $10 donations that we gotten specifically for the park, I mean, it all adds up. It all adds up,” Richard said with a smile filled with gratitude.
Richard anticipates kids and family having fun at this park for generations to come. “We don’t want this park to be a memorial,” Richard said. “We want it to be a park. We want it to be fun. We want it to be loud and boisterous. We just want kids and families to come and have a good time.”
A bird’s eye view of the park forms the number 8, Martin’s favorite number. Construction is set to begin this summer and is expected to be completed next year.
The Martin Richard Foundation is just $2.5 million shy of establishing a fund to make sure the park can be maintained well into the future.
If you’d like to help log onto Crowdrise.com/martins-park.