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.
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
You can view presentations from our past meetings as downloadable PDFs.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions!