BOSTON – Thursday, June 2, 2011 – With the summer recreation and touring season underway, Energy and Environmental Affairs Assistant Secretary David Cash joined Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Victoria Reggie Kennedy, members of the Boston Harbor Island Alliance and local and state leaders to celebrate the opening of the new Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion on the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway.
This is the first structure built on the Greenway and serves as the gateway to the Boston Harbor Islands national park area. Located adjacent to Quincy Market and Christopher Columbus Park, the Pavilion will allow visitors to interact with park rangers, view ferry schedules, buy ferry tickets, and examine large-scale maps of the historic islands, and enjoy a shaded area on the Greenway.
Visitors to the Pavilion can plan boat rides to eight island destinations that offer hiking trails, beaches, camping, natural and historic sites, and activities and tours led by park rangers. Programs and exhibits help visitors learn about the natural, cultural, geologic, and historical background of the Islands. Accessible by multiple nearby T lines, the pavilion lies on the 1.5-mile ribbon of park known as the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway, which weaves through downtown Boston. The project was funded in part by $ 5 million from the National Park Service and championed by the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy and the Massachusetts Congressional delegation.
“The Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion is another positive example of how the city’s waterfront continues to be revitalized,” said Mayor Menino. “Our Boston Harbor Islands are jewels and I commend Boston Harbor Island Alliance for driving this project to completion.”
“The pavilion is a wonderful addition that will help fulfill the Greenway’s goal of reconnecting the people of Boston and visitors to the city’s beautiful waterfront,” said Victoria Reggie Kennedy. “Ted would have loved it, and I congratulate the Boston Harbor Island Alliance and its partners, the City of Boston, the National Park Service, and the Department of Conservation and Recreation, on a job well done.”
Rather than a conventional building, the Pavilion was conceived as an open-air exhibit, defined by two sculptural canopies. The focus of the Pavilion is a 40 foot by 52 foot granite map of the Boston Harbor Islands. The eight islands that are accessible via public ferry are identified with vertical exhibit panels that highlight the diversity of the island environments and the range of recreational opportunities available to the public. The map and panels will be lit all year long.
“Parks such as Boston Harbor Islands provide an opportunity for urban populations to enjoy America’s great outdoors,” said Bruce Jacobson, superintendent of the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area at the National Park Service. “With the introduction of the Pavilion to downtown Boston, visitors will be able to discover the recreational opportunities offered on the islands, and learn about their deep history and natural beauty.”
The Boston Harbor Islands Pavilion is located on Parcel 14 on the Rose F. Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. The Pavilion is situated between Quincy Market and Christopher Columbus Park. Two kiosks turned in opposing directions sit under the sculptural canopies. One is home base for the National Park Service Rangers and the other is the retail concession run by the Boston Harbor Island Alliance (BHIA). The primary feature of the kiosks is two 8’ x 12’ maps – the map facing Quincy Market depicts Downtown Boston while the map that faces the Boston Harbor Islands exhibit focuses on the Islands and Boston Harbor. Both maps can be annotated by park rangers and BHIA staff on a daily basis with information about events. The two kiosks are closed at night by sliding the large map panels across the open doorways of the kiosks. When the maps are moved, two 8’ x 12’ LED panels are revealed that are programmed with video art installations.
“The Pavilion was designed to help connect visitors and city residents to the beautiful Boston Harbor Islands,” said Boston Harbor Island Alliance President Tom Powers. “With the help of our partners in the National Park Service, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, and the city of Boston, this new Pavilion provides a distinctive gateway to the islands and an iconic facility that improves the visitor experience.”
With solar panels on its roof, the Pavilion was designed to be a zero net energy project. The Pavilion leverages several aspects of the natural environment to create a beautiful, informative, and welcoming destination on the Greenway.
“Massachusetts is home to a long list of wonderful outdoor spaces, and the pavilion is the latest addition to the roster,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan Jr. “Equipped with solar panels, not only will this public place connect people to a superb natural resources, but it will serve as an example for clean energy adoption and energy efficiency, which will benefit the environment and keep energy costs low.”
“The Department of Conservation and Recreation is proud to be part of the unique partnership responsible for stewarding the Boston Harbor Islands, and we look forward to this new Pavilion spurring even more people to visit what is already an increasingly popular destination for tourists and city residents alike,” said DCR Commissioner Ed Lambert.