New play lot opened at Medal of Honor Park in South Boston

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The 2021 park renovation includes age-appropriate play equipment, safety surfacing, site furnishings, landscaping, and upgrades to drainage for the splash pad. Construction costs were $217,500 funded by the Mayor's Capital Improvement Program and a generous donation by playground equipment manufacturer Kompan. The design team of Kyle Zick Landscape Architect Inc and the contractor Haven Contracting Corp - EJ O'Sullivan made the plans a reality.

Boston Parks Commissioner Ryan Woods (back row, left) joins a crowd of celebrants including the McGrath Family, State Representative David Biele, and Boston City Councilor Ed Flynn for the September 4 opening of a new play area in South Boston's Medal of Honor Park designed for children ages two to five.

The inspiration for the play area, Colin McGrath, was a two-year-old South Boston boy nearing his third birthday who died after being struck by a car. In response to Colin's death, his parents, Kerri and Brendan McGrath, started Colin's Joy Project, a fund within The Boston Foundation. The Project's mission is to enhance local play spaces and sponsor children and family programming in the South Boston community, particularly for families in need.

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The design was inspired by a children's workshop where youngsters created a magical world with spaceships, pirate ships, and a water moat with narwhals and whales. As an example of the interaction between designers and the kids, planks were spaced based on a jumping exercise done in the workshop. Randall the Whale etched in a stone near the moat is the actual sketch from a participant. There is also a secret treasure chest etched on a stone for kids to discover. A charging station inspired by Colin's sister Sloane provides a place for kids to recharge their superpowers to explore this exciting space.

The "USS Colin" provides a fantastical space for South Boston children at the new play lot opened by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department on September 4 at Medal of Honor Park in South Boston. The play lot was built in memory of local boy Colin McGrath.

A second park, Colin's Courtyard, is being built at Monsignor Powers Apartments, a small community that offers a variety of living arrangements for low- and moderate-income elderly and disabled persons. The courtyard of Monsignor Powers is being redesigned to provide a multi-generational space for the community to gather. This space will also serve as a permanent memorial to Colin and a space for the thousands of painted rocks the McGrath family has received from people around the country in response to the accident, as well as from children and families in the community.

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