Cypress Street Playground/Athletic Fields Design

Cypress Field

Project Description

Cypress Street Playground is considered to be one of the first municipal parks established for playground purposes in the United States, built upon land purchased in 1871. At the time, it was conceived to create a public space for various outdoor activities, a new concept at the time. The 5.22 acre site is bounded by the main High School building to the west, the Gym and Aquatic Center to the south, as well as the Brookline Hills Green Line MBTA Station.  To the east is Cypress Street with neighborhoods beyond and to the north is Davis Ave with additional neighborhood abutters.  Greenough Street fronts along the High School and Tappan Street fronts the Aquatic Center and Unified Arts Building.

The playground is a long rectangular space with organized athletic functions towards the High School in the western two-thirds of the park. The park is bisected by a major pathway from Davis Ave to Tappan Street that provides pedestrian access to the Brookline Hills MBTA Station. The western part of the park includes a multipurpose rectangular field with two softball diamonds and one basketball court. The fields are used by High School girls’ softball as their home field, and also currently used by men’s softball, Little League as well as High School and Pop Warner football, High School soccer, summer camps, in addition to other public uses of the field. One softball field is currently lighted. Towards Cypress Street, there is one basketball court and an existing playground that is utilized by the local neighborhood as well as many local pre-schools. The fields are currently irrigated. 

Project Updates

Summer 2020

The project was publicly bid in late May into June and bids were opened on June 18, 2020.  All public bid results can be found on the Public Works bidding page here: https://www.brooklinema.gov/1776/PW-20-15-Cypress-Street-Playground .  The expectation is that the project will be awarded in late Fall with construction likely starting in early spring of 2021.   

May 2020

The project was nearly completed and prepared for bidding in February into March as mentioned below, but was delayed with various final detailing and coordination issues between the Town and our consultant on the playground and other items. Along came Covid-19 and the project was further delayed. Both the Town and our design consultant have been coordinating through these trying times and we are now close again to being able to put the project out for public bid. Per the original schedule when the project was going to be bid in February/ March, the construction in the park was scheduled to start in July 2020. We are still hopeful that the construction can begin in July 2020 under the new bidding schedule, which places the project out to bid in May. The design remains the same as presented throughout the Design Review Process and as represented in the January 1, 2020 Cypress Playground Rendering in the “resources” tab to the right.

Winter 2019-2020

The Parks and Open Space staff and their design consultant, Weston and Sampson are working on preparing construction documents for the project, with the objective to place the project out to bid in February/March 2020. Following up on one of the new design elements within the park, the Parks staff prepared to present the new handicap accessible pathway from Cypress and Tappan down to the crossway on Tappan, to various Town Committees, to obtain their approval. Town staff presented the new pathway concept to the Commission on Disability on December 12, 2019, to the Pedestrian Advisory Committee on December 16, 2019, and finally to the Transportation Board on January 13, 2020. All three boards and committees gave unanimous support to this new accessible pathway. Work also continues on making refinements to the playground equipment, making it accessible along the new proposed accessible path at the edge of the playground.

July-November 2019

The project continued under the Design Review Committee review process, with Design Review Committee meeting number five occurring August 14, 2019 and Design Review Committee number six taking place on September 12, 2019. The project was presented to the Park and Recreation Commission on September 17, 2019, receiving a vote to move the project forward into final design. Following this meeting, design changes made were thought to be significant enough to bring the project back before the Design Review Committee on November 5, 2019, where the Committee voted in favor of the changes. The project was then brought back before the Parks and Recreation Commission on November 12, 2019 for a revised vote, the project receiving approval from the Committee. The Parks and Open Space staff will be working with our design consultant, Weston and Sampson over the next couple months, to refine the design per comments heard in the final Design Review Committee meeting as well as the Parks and Recreation meeting. These will include design refinements towards further unifying simplicity while maintaining options for diversity of seating and activity destinations within the park, all while trying to maintain existing mature trees as discussed. Final coordination will concurrently be occurring with the high school design team, as they make final refinements to the streetscape portion of their work. 

June 2019

We have held four Design Review Committee Meetings to date, the most recent occurring on June 19, 2019. With our design consultant, we continue to progress the overall park design in conjunction with the design work occurring concurrently at the high school. The overall design is becoming more harmonious for the overall park, while additional detailed design continues on some of the seating areas including near the high school as well as the playground area. In addition, our consultant has been working on various grading studies to consider how the various elements will integrate into the existing park. Significant efforts regarding review of the current overall tree canopy has also occurred and those findings are being carefully integrated into refinements to the overall design. The next Design Review Committee Meeting # 5 is scheduled for August 14th, 2019.

April/May 2019

We have held three Design Review Committee Meetings to date, the most recent occurring on May 1, 2019. The Town’s design consultant has been working closely with the Town and also with the High School consulting team, to cohesively design the park improvements in concert with the proposed High School expansion. In the recent Design Review Committee Meeting, we examined overall concepts for the park, adjacency with the High School project, concepts for a “Slow Street” along the entrance to the High School, the natural turf softball and multipurpose fields, and various concepts for the playground area at the Cypress Street end of the site. Members of the High School design team also presented their work along Tappan Street. The next Design Review Committee Meeting # 4 is scheduled for June 19th, 2019.

February/March 2019 

In 2017 and 2018, previous scoping sessions began to investigate renovations to the Playground.  These studies looked in great detail at the athletic fields and disused the pros and cons of synthetic turf at this facility.  In May 2018, Town Meeting voted to approve moving the renovations of the Playground forward, but did not approve the use of synthetic turf.  In December 2018, a new Design Review Process began for renovations to the Playground.  A Consultant was hired in January 2019 and a new design process for the Playground began.  A second Design Review Committee Meeting is scheduled for February 27, 2019.