Brookline Reservoir Park

Brookline Reservoir

Project Update 

May 2018

After four public Design Review Committee meetings, the Park and Recreation Commission voted approval of the park’s landscape preliminary design, its scope and budget, and the base contract with add alternates. The proposed site work for the park is under review by the dam and geotechnical consultant team, and then will go to the ODS for their review and comment. We hope to issue a site construction package for bidding in 2019.

Outside of the park’s landscape improvements, the Gatehouse is also in need of a number of improvements:

  • Addition of a gender-neutral restroom inside the Gatehouse
  • Replacement of doors and windows at the Gatehouse
  • Repair or replacement of historic valves within the Gatehouse
  • Utility upgrades including water, sewer, and electrical at the Gatehouse

Separate efforts are underway to address the construction of the restroom in the Gatehouse and its attendant utilities, and the valve repairs. While the park plans are under review, we are acquiring additional necessary survey and utility information for conditions below the water at the Gatehouse and the architectural design is proceeding.

Project Description

Brookline Reservoir Park is a 32 acre park surrounding a man-made body of water approximately one mile in circumference.  The Reservoir was completed in 1848 as the terminus of the Cochituate Aqueduct, Boston’s first public water supply.  Its key architectural feature is the Lower Gatehouse, an elegant granite structure.  The park’s recreational and landscape features include a stonedust walking path around the perimeter of the water basin, a series of entrances into the park, over sixty memorial benches, signature flowering Kwanzan Cherry trees, and a mix of mature woodland trees, primarily deciduous.  There are some open lawn areas used for passive recreation.  The park is a destination for Brookline residents from all neighborhoods in the town as well as visitors from other communities.  The park is listed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places, and was declared a National Historic Site.

The park is in need of a number of landscape site improvements:

  • Universal access
  • Masonry repair at the interior of the basin and at the Gatehouse
  • Turf and planting renovation
  • Renovation of the walking paths, including a solution for a “pinch point” at the Gatehouse on the water side
  • Drainage and stormwater management improvements
  • Removal of invasive plant materials

In addition, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Office of Dam Safety (ODS) is requesting the removal of vegetation on top of the dam structure itself in order to prevent potential dam failure due to downed trees and burrowing animals, and allow regular visual inspections of the dam’s condition.  The Town has engaged the services of a dam and geotechnical engineering firm to aid us in conversations with the ODS about the ultimate impact on the park’s character.

The project’s goals prioritize maintaining the park’s character while addressing the necessary improvements.