Southwest Corridor Park Conservancy
About The Conservancy
Our mission is to restore and enrich for current and future generations, the Southwest Corridor Park. The 4.7-mile, 50-acre park is sited along the MBTA's Orange Line transit corridor and serves 130,000 residents and commuters. In partnership with the public, adjacent businesses, educational and cultural institutions, the Southwest Corridor Park Conservancy gathers resources to restore and maintain the Park; its plantings, structures, play areas, and community programs.
In the 1950's and 1960's, plans were developed for a 12-lane highway along the railroad right-of-way between Boston and Rte. 128, and on into Cambridge. The residents of the affected areas, including Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, South End, Back Bay, and Cambridge, protested against the destruction of their neighborhoods by the planned highway. Imagine the scene as citizens lay down on the ground in front of the demolition bulldozers.
In response to the community, in 1970, Governor Francis Sargent ordered a moratorium on all new expressway construction in Greater Boston and initiated a review of expressway and transit plans in the area. By 1972, Sargent cancelled the plan for the expressway and designated the Southwest Corridor for the current mix of mass transit, open space and recreation instead. The new, mostly submerged, Orange Line was opened in 1987. Three years later, on May 5th 1990, the Metropolitan District Commission held an official grand opening ceremony for the corridor parkway.
What almost became a highway, is now a 4.7 mile, 50 acre linear park that stretches from Back Bay Station in Boston to Forest Hills Station in Jamaica Plain. Southwest Corridor Park is the clasp that connects both ends of the Emerald Necklace, and it partially fulfills Frederick Law Olmsted's vision of winding his parkways to the ocean.
The Southwest Corridor Park links the neighborhoods of the South End, Back Bay, Roxbury and Jamaica Plain with green, street-level, open space. Approximately a quarter of the parkland is decked over the railroad tracks, providing more space for grass and plantings, and such recreational facilities as 11 tot lot areas, 2 spray pools, 7 basketball courts, 5 tennis courts, 2 street hockey rinks, 2 amphitheatres, and paths for biking, jogging and walking.
Twenty years ago, the Southwest Corridor Park received numerous awards for helping to revitalize urban living and the community spirit which is so vital to Boston's neighborhoods. Awards include the Von Moltke award for excellence in urban design, Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence website, and honorable recognition by the Rails to Trails Conservancy.
Why a Conservancy?
The Conservancy was founded in 2004 primarily to address maintenance issues and to create a nonprofit organization for channeling financial and volunteer support for the park. As it approaches its 20th anniversary, the park requires renewed efforts toward maintenance and rejuvenation.
Conservancy Board of Directors
Franco Campanello, President; Rebecca Fitzgerald, Treasurer; Lorraine Steele, Secretary; Dan d'Heilly, Lucy Jefferson, Beth Ranahan.
By-Laws and Other Documents
Mahoney’s Garden Centers, Weston Nurseries, Scotts Miracle Gro, The Cedar Tree Foundation, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and the City of Boston Department of Animal Control for their generous support.