Across the United States, the 1970’s and 1980’s marked a resurgence of interest in Olmsted and his landscapes. Activists in Boston and Brookline realized the unappreciated treasure that Olmsted had bequeathed to his adopted home – the six-mile linear water-park and Parkways now known as The Emerald Necklace.
This renewed interest spurred local activists and public officials to work toward rejuvenation of “The Necklace”. With the support of then-Governor Michael Dukakis (a Brookline native) the Emerald Necklace Parks Master Plan was completed in 1989, and updated in 2001. It represents the roadmap for the long-term restoration of the Emerald Necklace.
Many of the tasks have been completed: restoration of Olmsted Park including transformation of Riverdale Parkway to bicycle/pedestrian paths and extensive replanting in the Allerton Overlook and Babbling Brook areas, restoration of the Back Bay Fens gatehouses, and dredging and restoration of Charlesgate. Other tasks are in progress – restoration of the Carlton Street Footbridge in the Riverway, and recreation of the waterway at the Landmark Center.
However, step-by-step, persistence is gaining ground. As former Secretary of Environmental Affairs Bob Durand stated, “it is both our duty and privilege to preserve Olmsted’s legacy for the 21st Century”. On behalf of the public which it serves, MMOC embraces this challenge for the Muddy River parks and will remain faithful to that pledge.