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.  Phase I of the construction and restoration work in Kingsley Park was completed in November 2014.  Phase 2 is anticipated to launch in 2016.

July 2015:

Kingsley Park is open and ready for use!

The fencing surrounding the Kingsley Bowl and Knoll have been removed, and these areas are now open to the public. Please note: All dogs must be leashed on the Kingsley Knoll (the central lawn) however Cambridge dogs displaying current tags may be off-leash in the Kingsley Bowl area. For more information on shared use regulations at Kingsley Park, click here. Additionally, some fencing remains to protect plantings and turf that are still establishing. We want Kingsley Park to stay beautiful-please join us in protecting our investment by respecting the fencing.

Check out the Facebook photo gallery to get a glimpse at all the work accomplished in 2014.

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– November 3:
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.

Winter 2014/Spring 2015:

Phase I of the Kingsley Park Restoration Project completed. Some areas of turf and certain plantings are still establishing, however the park is now open to the public. The natural play area is still under construction, requiring a few more large wooden play pieces to be put into place before it can be opened for use. Thanks for your patience during construction!  

Looking Ahead To Phase II:

Phase II of the Kingsley Park restoration project will focus on slope stabilization and restoration on the hillside closest to the shoreline of Fresh Pond. Designs for the project are expected to be complete in 2016, construction tentatively started in 2017. Of course, we will be asking for public input along the way. Stay tuned for more information in the coming months! 

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. 

Please do not hesitate to contact us with questions.

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