Co-designing a Flood Resilient Masco Park


Residents got a taste of what is in store for certain areas of Town with the flooding that occurred this past winter.  

While no especially large storm struck, extensive high waters flooded Masconomo Park multiple times and even made Beach Street impassable once during high tide.  Other low-lying areas were also flooded.  We can expect this type of flooding to happen more frequently and cause more damage unless we take measures to better hold back or otherwise accommodate water.

The recently completed coastal vulnerability study (an award-winning analysis of future flooding in and around the harbor and options for actions which is available on the Town’s website) recommended, among other steps, that the community take a fresh look at how Masconomo Park is laid out and what changes we might want to make to allow continued use in the face of flooding.  With additional grant funds in hand, the Town is embarking on taking this fresh look.

A three-day design “charrette” is scheduled starting Tuesday, April 30th at 10 a.m.  

Our consulting engineers and landscape architects from Fuss and O’Neill will assist in leading a hands-on set of public open sessions aimed at co-designing solutions for flooding at Masconomo Park.  Residents are invited to first gather at the American Legion Hall behind Town Hall at 10 a.m. to gain background knowledge of the flooding we can expect with sea level rise and storm surges impacting the filled tide lands that comprise the Park.  This Tuesday public forum will be followed by a public “walkshop” from 11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. at Masconomo Park.  Participants will walk the park area and discuss the challenges and potential design solutions in the field with the design team.  This is to be a highly interactive session where resident input will be encouraged.  

The consultants will take what they observed and heard people say in terms of what community amenities we want from the park and begin sketching out design options.  They will work on these throughout the rest of Tuesday and Wednesday with drop-in times made available on Wednesday for the public to informally comment on the options being developed. Again, the premise here is that public feedback helps guide the work of the design team.   

Then by Thursday evening another public forum will be held back at the American Legion Hall from 6 -7:30 p.m. to review the final set of options and to gain additional public input on which options are preferred.  The design team will walk through all that they heard from residents and how they translated this input into design options for the park. Residents will be asked to comment on the various options.   

With this last round of public input in hand, the design team will craft a set of final recommendations the Town can consider implementing in the future.  

The result should be a set of design options that the public helped develop and that we can implement over time.  While the park has experienced flooding, we are not at a crisis point yet and have time to make improvements that will enhance the park’s ability to function as public space while adjusting to rising seas and bigger storms. 

With any luck we should be able to secure some grant support to make needed improvements. And the process we follow should serve as a model of community engagement that generates a solution with general public support.  We hope you can take time over the course of Tuesday through Thursday, April 30th, May 1st and 2nd to participate in
this unique opportunity.  Your schedule precludes you from attending?  You can send along comments ahead of time or react to the materials that will be posted to the website.

P.S.:  A big thank you to all who came out to participate in the Annual Town Meeting and to the many staff and volunteers who make it all happen!