About Us

The Charlesgate Alliance, established in 2017, is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to serving and improving Charlesgate Park and its surrounding neighborhoods in the Back Bay, Kenmore, and Fenway. We are working with the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, the Esplanade Association, Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), and with the support of area residents, neighborhood and other advocacy groups. We have a particularly close relationship with the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, our professional parks partner, who work with us on what is now known as the Charlesgate Revitalization Project.

Charlesgate Park, defined by Charlesgate East and West, Storrow Drive, and the Massachusetts Turnpike, was once known as the Beacon Street Entrance to the Back Bay Fens, the starting point of design for landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace park system. Its function as an entrance to the parks and as a connector between neighborhoods was severely impacted by the construction of the Bowker Overpass in 1965. MassDOT is now working to improve the Bowker Overpass experience, thanks in large part to the advocacy of the Alliance. For a detailed history of the area, click here.

Here is a July 2022 piece on Chronicle about the project, featuring our architects, Dan and Marie Law Adams of Landing Studio and Parker James, co-founder of the Charlesgate Allliance.


In June 2022 we planted 15 new trees in The Grove section of the park, the first new trees in many years. We are working with DCR to plant more in the Spring of 2024. The areas for new trees are specifically chosen to avoid construction areas that MassDOT may need for Bowker Overpass improvements.

Karen Mauney-Brodek, president of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, and Pam Beale and Parker James, co-founders of the Charlesgate Alliance, wrote a letter to former Governor on November 11, 2020 to advocate for the Charlesgate area. 33 organizations signed on to support the letter. You can read the letter here. Also attached is former Mayor Walsh’s October 21, 2020 letter to the Governor.

The City of Boston made a video with one of our co-founders, Pam Beale, as a result of the Alliance being awarded CPA money in 2019. Parker James is the other co-founder.

While the Alliance works with its partners on big plans to improve the park, we have also made two significant interventions to improve the park’s appeal today. Starting in the Summer of 2018, we introduced red plastic Adirondack chairs as a seasonal way to get people to think of the area as a park again, not just as a pass-through. Starting in the Summer of 2019, we have employed Project Place to clean the park and tend to the Charlesgate chairs.

Landing Studio Designs

Landing Studio is the architectural firm hired by Charlesgate Alliance and the Emerald Necklace Conservancy in conjunction with DCR to develop concept designs for enhancements to Charlesgate Park. Landing Studio is also a contractor for MassDOT as they design improvements to the Bowker Overpass. Initial funding for the Alliance and the Conservancy to hire Landing Studio came from community residents and a matching grant from the Solomon Foundation. Public meetings began in 2017. Subsequent funding has included contributions from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the City of Boston’s Community Preservation Act.

You can view presentations from our past meetings as downloadable PDFs.

The illustration below is a proposed design idea for what Landing Studio calls the Bowl and Bridge area of Charlesgate. For more background information, please see the PDF of Landing Studio’s presentation at the April 9th Talk about DCR Charlesgate meeting.
There is an area of Charlesgate that we think would be great for a dog park.
The Muddy River-to-land connection could be improved.
Areas under the Bowker Overpass could be used for activities and take advantage of the ceiling that it provides.
This part adjacent to the Bowker Overpass by Newbury Street could have a pedestrian and bicycle bridge to alleviate the isolation in “The Circles” area of the current park.
Landing Studio designated areas of the park in the illustration below at the December 4, 2017, Talk About DCR Charlesgate Park meeting.

Charlesgate_Anatomy – Version 3

Please contact us at charlesgatealliance@gmail.com if you have any questions!

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