Upham's Corner Online

Planning the Fairmount Corridor at Upham's Corner - the Nonquit Green

Posted: June 7, 2012     Nancy J Conrad Click here to Add Comment
Project Links
The PPS WorkshopKroc Center
Upham's Corner Train Station
Dudley Terrace
Nonquit Green
Leon Building

The Nonquit Green is a hidden and precious jewel in Upham's Corner.

Yet residents were quick to identify that "the park" was not meeting their needs.  A public space becomes a community asset when it is fulfilling the needs of its citizenry AND when it helps create connectedness and encourages community involvement.

Residents, in the park when the PPS workshop toured, readily expressed their ideas on what would make the Nonquit Green a truly valuable asset to Upham's Corner.  
The Nonquit Green is almost immediately adjacent to the commuter rail line, very close at the rear and one building away at the front. From under the train bridge and walking towards Upham's Corner, your first site is a locked gate into a driveway, the an apartment building with a laundromat at ground level, followed by the Nonquit Green which takes up the remainder of the block before Nonquit Street. Somewhat obscuring its identity as a park is a black wrought iron fence surrounding the property and allowing the caretakers to lock the park at nght.

Overall the PPS group felt the park was very well maintained.

Objective:  How can the park be made more welcoming and inviting?  Can it become a square where people stop on their way home to get food or other items?

Project for Public Spaces Placemaking - Nonquit GreenThe Nonquit Street Neighborhood Association and Land Trust (NSALT) was founded in 1992.  As excerpted from the "Catalogue for Philanthropy," NSALT describes itself in the following way.

"NSALT bridges the Catalogue’s basic categories of "Nature" and "Culture." It serves the "higher spiritual needs of residents" as a necessity, not a luxury, in the low-income, blighted community of Upham's Corner, Dorchester.

With many volunteers, NSNALT organized clean-ups of local properties, persuaded property owners to make specific improvements and security enhancements, and transformed two desolate spaces at opposite ends of a 400-ft. cul-de-sac street, into the "Nonquit Street Green," and the "Garden Wildlife Habitat," connected by flowering trees and plants all along the way.

The Green features a children’s sculpture garden with works donated by Nancy Schön, creator of "Make Way for Ducklings" in the Boston Public Garden. She philanthropically gave the neighborhood a "Magic Dragon," to which she will add "The Owl and the Pussycat" - symbolizing the love that transcends differences in this ethnically diverse community. "

Several Project for Public Spaces workshop attendees remarked about what they perceive as the inaccessibility of the park.  Even though the park is open early and closes at dusk, the neighborhood has the impression that it is not open and available to the community.

The only access to the park is the through the small front gate which is not visible from Dudley Street.  The entry gate is offset from a small entry patio and the gate swings open to the inside parallel to Nonquit Street.  So if you were walking down Dudley Street and didn't know anything about the park, all you would see is a tall black fence.  To see the gate and that the park is open, you have to look to the inside.  Sometimes families will close the gate to make sure their kids cannot wander off.  If a park has a short fence, you can still see people inside, gate open or closed.  However, the Nonquit fence is so tall, you almost have to peer in to see if there are any people inside.

Suggestions made regarding access included widening the opening to make it more visible from Dudley Street and removing the gate entirely.

Project for Public Spaces Placemaking - Nonquit Green
Approaching the park from the south side of Dudley St,
It is obvious the gate / park is open.   
Project for Public Spaces Placemaking - Nonquit Green
If a resident closes the gate as a safety precaution for the
kids, how does any one know the park is open?

The Nonquit Street Green has a large metal sign posted close to the entry way entitled "Visitors, Please Take Notice" followed by a long list of rules.  PPS workshop attendees noted that they were surprised at the long list of rules.  They would like to have seen a welcoming sign such as:  "Welcome.  We hope you enjoy yourself."

Project for Public Spaces Placemaking - Nonquit GreenThe Nonquit Street Green founded 1993 Visitors Please Take Notice

The Nonquit Green is a community space developed and maintained through the voluntary efforts of this community. Please do your part in keeping it maintained and beautiful so that everyone may enjoy it.

Visitors under twelve years of age require adult supervision
Please do not pick or tread upon the flowers
Please do not climb upon the trees or damage their bark or branches in any manner
Please do not climb upon any structure
Please do not letter.   please remove any trash or use the trash receptacles
Please do not break glass and please remove any glass which is accidently broken
Please do not feed the pigeons
Please be extremely careful when using barbecue grills.  Please do not flame the barbecue grills by pouring accelerant on lighted coals.
Please do not erect tents or canopies, temporary or otherwise
Sitting on the grass is permitted except where posted
Dogs are prohibited
Sectarian and political activity is prohibited
Alcoholic beverages are prohibited
Gambling is prohibited
Vending is prohibited
Fireworks and fire crackers are prohibited
Loud music is prohibited

Any activity which interferes with enjoyment of the space by other visitors; which causes damage to any structure, planting or element of the park; or which is prohibited by law, is prohibited.

Distribution of controlled substances on or within one hundred feet of his space is punishable by a mandatory minimum of two years imprisonment under M.G.L. Chapter 94C; Section 32J
Violators will be prosecuted and/or denied visiting privileges.

Per order of The Nonquit Street Neighborhood Association and Land Trust, Inc.
At the time the PPS group visited the Nonquit Green, there were several families and children present so the group posed questions for them:  How often to you come to the park?  What do you like about the park?  Any suggestions?  
  • The people using the park had no idea why the sculptures were there.  They said the sculptures are dangerous for the kids because they have sharp edges.  Same with the granite blocks.  Again they had no idea what the purpose of the granite blocks was. 
  • As far as amenities are concerned, they liked the two picnic tables and barbecue grills but that's not near enough for the community.
  • What do the kids do in the park?  Not much.  There isn't anything for them to do.  It would be nice if there were a play area for the kids.
Project for Public Spaces Placemaking - Nonquit Green
More picnic tables and barbecue grills (only 2 of each)
are needed.  "We have to arrive early or other people
will already have taken the spaces."
Project for Public Spaces Placemaking - Nonquit Green
Not enough seating area.

Project for Public Spaces Placemaking - Nonquit Green
The sculpture is dangerous for the kids because
of the sharp edges.
Project for Public Spaces Placemaking - Nonquit Green
No one seemed to know what the granite blocks were for
but they felt they were dangerous for kids
Project for Public Spaces Placemaking - Nonquit Green
What is there for kids to do here?  Nothing except run
around on the grass.  It would be nice if there
were a play area for the kids.

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