Officially incorporated as an independent non-profit organization in 1997, COGdesign provides pro-bono landscape design to underserved communities to promote physical and mental health and make eastern Massachusetts more beautiful. Below are descriptions of the 10 projects that COGdesign has accepted for the Fall 2017-Spring 2018 Project Season. If you would like to volunteer for one or more projects, please email Jean at JKrasnow9@gmail.com and/or email@example.com to get more information. If you have already filled the out application or have volunteered in the past, you do not need to do so again.
Boston Collegiate Charter School
215 Sydney Street, North Dorchester
Boston Collegiate has been in this location since 2010 and would like to create a welcoming attractive park-like space for families and the community in the lot adjacent to the school. The school is in a former piano factory. Over the years they have tried some planting but did not have much luck. They have decided they need a plan and some guidance! Over 200 students and 50 teachers enter the school daily and, as the school is a one-minute walk from the JFK/UMASS red line stop, many people walk by every day. The director of family and community development will lead this project: students and families are eager.
Fairmount Greenway/Southwest Boston CDC
11 Fairmount Ave, Hyde Park
Hyde Park residents have identified redevelopment of the blighted Doyle Playground (a vacant lot for over 15 years now littered with glass and weeds) as a priority. The residents have suggested a gathering place, natural playground, access to Neponset River, and a path connecting to other nearby parks along the Fairmount Greenway ( a recent awardee of the Blossom Fund of the Boston Committee of the GCA). Hyde Park is a high need area: in Hyde Park 41% of residents earn less than $35,000: in the area around Doyle Park per capita income is under $21,000. Lovely public space would be welcome and well used.
Egleston Square Main Street
3134 Washington Street, Roxbury
The lot is owned by Clear Channel and houses a huge billboard dating to the time of the elevated Orange Line on Washington. The community has a $1/yr lease to maintain it as open space for the community. A Friends Group has formed to develop an ongoing plan for the space. The Peace Garden (created in the 1960’s) is at the heart of Egleston Square and is walking distance from three schools. Frequently used as a community gathering space, it needs a thoughtful plan for public use. The Friends Group does clean up and would head up the planning process for a new design for the space.
Fenway Victory Garden
1200 Boylston Street, Boston, MA
The main entrance to the Victory Gardens includes a large area designated by the Boston Parks Department as the Victory Garden Committee to plant and garden. The area is seen by hundreds of visitors each year as well as the hundreds of community gardeners. They have asked for plants that are drought tolerant and unappealing to the many rabbits that live in the gardens. Fenway Garden Society members will maintain the area.
GreenRoots Food Justice and Urban Agriculture Expansion Efforts
From their application GreenRoots needs COGdesign “to help our organization expand its work with low income families to grow their own fruits, vegetables, and herbs locally and inexpensively and to connect neighbors to forge greater social bonds and improve quality of life”. GreenRoots has a commitment from a food service company to build a sizable greenhouse: the design and planning for the greenhouse is also part of the application.
Grove Hall Main Streets
320 Blue Hill Avenue, Roxbury
The city has several vacant lots along Blue Hill Avenue. The Grove Hall Main Streets organization would like to see one of them developed for commuters and residents as a food court: retail and space for seating and eating. In this project everything is up for grabs- creativity welcomed!
497 and 503 Columbus Avenue (Green space in front of affordable housing), South End
Haley House was the first homeless service provider to create permanent, affordable housing in Boston. Currently, Haley House housing programs include more than 100 units of housing. The Columbus Avenue buildings have 24 single room units. For several years, residents have invested time and energy to try to develop the plots and will certainly help once there is a new design. The applicants would like the residents to be part of the planning. We agree!
Hoops and Homework
12 A Interfaith Terrace, Framingham
Hoops and Homework is an after school and summer program at a Section 8 housing complex in Framingham. Residents have the lowest income in Framingham with a median family income of $29,162. There are 160 rental units in the complex. The program raised funds and a local contractor has installed a basketball court at cost. The next phase is to create park and gathering space in the wooded area behind the court. Residents are also interested in raised bed gardening.
28 Highland Avenue, Roxbury
From the application, “the goal is to create a beautiful, native-plant rainwater garden behind Paige Academy to mitigate rainwater runoff and erosion. The land is an historical asset to the community and serves a both part of Paige Academy campus and an Urban Wild and community walking path.” Paige Academy is located near John Eliot Square, a mixed income area of Roxbury and has served the community for 47 years. The new space would create an improved footpath for the community and an outdoor teaching classroom for the school.
Gore Street Community Garden
6-8 Gore Street, Mission Hill
The City of Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development has offered this vacant lot on Mission Hill for community use. The DND has accepted the proposal for a community garden. The application lists several goals: “we wish to preserve neighborhood open space, create a place for education about growing and maintaining fruit trees, offer wheelchair accessibility for gardening, create raised beds for residents, and learn about rain harvesting and composting”. This project has a unique timeline. The city needs a rough design quickly and then will wait to see a full design, plant list, and more later in the winter. Median income on Mission Hill is $35,000: there is lots of community energy for a community garden and the possible educational options that could develop.