Kingsley Park Improvements

A view of Kingsley Park from Perimeter Road

Kingsley Park Restoration Project aims to preserve and improve the historic, recreational and ecological resources for which we treasure our park. Improvements to universal accessibility, pathway circulation and drainage, native species habitat, historic overlooks, and the addition of discovery areas for children, are targeted in the design.

Because the scope of the work proposed is so large, this project is divided into multiple phases. The design for Phase I is complete and groundbreaking is set to begin in May 2014.  To allow for successful restoration, Kingsley Park will be fenced-off and closed from May 28 into September 2014.

As of Tuesday, August 26, 2014:

Please Note: The re-opening of Kingsley Park will be delayed.  Construction work will continue into September; please check back here, or watch for postings around Fresh Pond for updates on the exact opening date.

Construction is in full swing.  Dozens of new trees and hundreds of shrubs and herbaceous sprouts have been planted in the hilltop, around the overlooks and in the new detention basin.  A temporary irrigation system has been installed to ensure their establishment.  The mainline for the new turf irrigation system is being installed in the bowl area.  Removal of old pathway surfaces is complete, and re-grading of pathways is complete.  On all of the Upper Loop and on the portion of the Perimeter Road adjacent the upper parking lot, the drainage system for porous pavement almost complete.  Flexi-Pave installation has started.

 A Fibar pad and surrounding woodland for the new children's play area has also been installed.  The swale on the northwestern slope is being fine-tuned, with more vegetation to be planted around it. Check out the Facebook photo gallery to see the progress.

Signage has been posted around Fresh Pond Reservation detailing the project and detour routes that will be available while Kingsley Park is closed and fenced-off from April-September. Click here for detour maps and parking information.

Project design renderings, and the slide presentation from the public pre-construction informational meeting (held on Monday, March 31st) are  online. Click on the documents tab to view or download these and other project documents.

December 7, 2011 – March 28, 2013:
Five public meetings were held to discuss the design of the Kingsley Park Restoration Project. After the final public meeting, the project went into design phase.

January 2014:
Invasive Norway maples were removed from the Kingsley Park grove in preparation for construction, and the re-planting of native trees and shrubs in Summer 2014.

March 2014:
Project designs were finalized put out to bid. The bidding period closed on March 14th. A public, pre-construction information session was held on March 31st.  The project contract was awarded to SumCo of Salem, MA.

May 12-28 2014:
The Lower Loop pathway undergoes improvements to prep the site as a main detour during the upcoming closure of Kingsley Park.

May 29– September 2014:
Construction of Phase I Kingsley Park Restoration Project. With the exception of the lower Perimeter Path along the shoreline, Kingsley Park will be closed to all visitor traffic, including pets, during construction. Select restoration areas with the park will remain fenced-off from all human and pet traffic after construction is completed until the vegetation is established enough to endure foot traffic.

The full timeline for following phases of the restoration is to be determined.

The Kingsley Park Restoration Project aims to restore the historic value of Kingsley Park while improving circulation pathways, drainage, and native species among the forested groves, as well as meeting universal access specifications and adding discovery zones.  Improvements featured in the restoration plan meet several goals of the Fresh Pond Master Plan, and are designed to preserve and enhance the park to protect Fresh Pond’s water and recreational quality for generations to come.

Kingsley Park is already beautiful, and “the Bowl” has already been improved, so what about it needs fixing?

Kingsley Park is, yes, an aesthetic jewel of Cambridge and already valuable habitat for wildlife.  However, its natural and human-made features have sustained pressures from over a century of intensive use.  If not addressed now, these impacts will become serious threats to the park’s integrity.  Problems to be remediated include: 

  • severe soil compaction that hinders vegetation growth and exacerbates muddy runoff,
  • flooding along the Perimeter path at the foot of Kingsley Park’s hilltop,
  • cracking at the base of historic overlooks, threatening stability and safety,
  • paths which are not American Disabilities Act compliant, and are in need of repair,
  • benches and swing-set in need of replacement,
  • maintenance needs for the irrigation system, and
  • impairment of native forest habitat by invasive plant species.

The design process began in 2011 with input from numerous public meetings to better incorporate the concerns of Cambridge residents in the final design. The resulting plan is a three-phase, holistic approach to much-needed restoration at Kingsley Park.  Construction for Phase I will begin in April 2014 after designs are completed during the winter months. Presentations from all public meetings are available for download under the "Documents" tab.  Project design rendering will be posted as they are finalized. 

Success will not be possible without your cooperation.

Input from community members has aided the Cambridge Water Department in directing an effective and socially-relevant restoration design.  In this next phase, construction, we ask for your patience and cooperation by staying out of the project area.  All of Kingsley Park will be closed to visitors and their pets from April-September 2014 during construction.  Thank you for your assistance and cooperation; it is what makes restoration success at Fresh Pond possible.


Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions.

Have questions or comments about the Kingsley Park Site Improvements Project? Email us!