Main Street Meadows park

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Project Overview

geese paintingThe City is working to transform a heat island into an oasis for native birds, butterflies, bees and neighbors! This project will help to cool one of the city’s hottest heat islands next to the Sweetser Circle / RT 16 Rotary. Shade from gardens and trees will cool the area and create a destination to visit, enjoy, and connect with the community. We’re planning for:

  • New sidewalks, crossings, seating, and stairs
  • A Miyawaki forest, native trees and wildflowers, meadows and sensory gardens
  • A gazebo, nature playscape, and informational kiosk
  • Two nature-inspired murals by Everett Artist and neighbor @JayLapo

butterfliesGarden designs include a Miyawaki Forest, sensory garden, native pollinator garden, and wildflower meadows. Miyawaki Forests are native, pocket-sized forests that reestablish ecosystems quickly. The Miywaki method by Akira Miywaki densely plants native trees, shrubs, and ground cover suited to each unique site condition. With the support of soil amendments like compost, wood chips, and logs we create a living soil biome that supports the growth of a mature, native forest in decades rather than centuries.

Thank you to MassDOT Shared Streets and Spaces Grant Program and Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) 2022 COVID-Safe Cooling Strategies Grant Program for helping to part to fund this project.

Project Goals

  • Cool the urban heat island and support climate resiliency
  • Create a vibrant public space for all to enjoy
  • Create a more beautiful, resilient, and connected neighborhood
  • Increase pedestrian access and safety
  • Support ecosystem restoration
  • Draw down carbon, clean air and soil pollution
  • Create a sound barrier to reduce noise pollution

Project Updates and Milestones

Summer 2023

Our team is working with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), who owns part of the land, to finalize permitting and begin the next phase of construction. Below is a concept design illustrating our vision. You may have seen this in-person in front of the meadow across from the West Street T stop.

Click to enlarge

Earth Day 2023

In celebration of Earth Day, the City of Everett hosted its annual clean-up day. On Sat, April 22, 2023, a team of 20 enthusiastic, hardworking volunteers led by City staff and Diggers Coop cleaned up the Main Street Meadows site! We picked up trash, hand-tilled garden beds, mulched, and planted seedlings to help with soil health. Much of the existing soil does not have the nutrients needed to keep plants healthy, which is why we took action; breaking up the soil and introducing soil amendments. Earth Day is just one step that we are taking to help create healthy micro bacteria to produce soils that allow us to feed the trees, shrubs, and pollinators that will grow in this space. We also dug up a dead tree and will replace this tree with healthier ones, including a microforest onsite. Many thanks to our incredible volunteers and the team at Diggers, Neighborways, and the City of Everett!

October / November 2022 – Phase 1 Install Complete

Diggers Co-op installed new sidewalk, benches, and prepped garden beds in fall 2022.

October 2022 Soil Science Social

The learning and installation begins! Friends and neighbors joined Diggers Co-op to learn about soil science. We did more site cleanup and helped mix compost, biochar, wood chips, and cardboard to create new garden beds with the Pioneer Charter Garden Club.

Below: Spiro teaching us about the science of healthy soil.

Below: Pioneer Charter students helping bring wood chips and living soil to create garden beds.

September 2022 – Harvest Fest Tabling

Our project team joined the broader Everett community at fall’s Harvest Fest. We received feedback on draft designs and support for Main Street Meadow.

September 2022 – Cake Walk Event

The team hosted a cake walk along the Northern Strand Trail to the project site for folks to learn about the project and give feedback. Pioneer Charter School students and friends gathered at Everett Community Growers’ farm for a meet-and-greet, cupcakes, and dialogue on partnering to the meadow project. We then left the farm for a walking tour of the recently installed murals at Main St Meadow.

Below: Pioneer Charter Garden Club meets with the project team and MyRWA to learn more about the project.

Below: Cake Walk mural tour with Everett Community Growers and neighbors at Main St Meadow.

August 2022 – Mural Installation by Everett Artists

Inspired by the neighborhood’s ideas, youth artists from Everett High School led by local artist Jay Lapo painted murals on two retaining walls at Main Street Meadow.

August 2022 – Mayor’s Program Site Cleanup

Everett teens with the Mayor’s Summer Youth Program cleaned up and prepped the retaining walls for our local artists to paint beautiful nature murals!

May 2022 – Project Kick off

The Kickoff! Members from the project design team, the City, neighbors at Everett Villa Co-op, and the Everett Community Growers met to vision the space.

Below: Project Team meeting onsite to discuss goals. Middle: project site from above. Bottom: project site from Sweetser Circle.

Project Background

Everett Community Growers (ECG) was initially approached about relocating their community farm to this project site a few years ago. ECG measured summer temperatures over 110 degrees in the heat island, and declined the space for growing food.

In 2021, Neighborways Design was awarded a Everett Citizen Foundation grant to install a mural on one of the retaining walls across from the Villa Co-op. As part of that process we hosted visioning and listening sessions to hear the needs and visions for the neighborhood. Some feedback we heard included the desire for more gardens, seating, and shade.

The City moved forward with this project to provide cooling, shade and relief for residents, especially older neighborways who are some of the most vulnerable populations during heatwaves. The City is currently working with Neighborways Design, Diggers Cooperative, and Moyer Engineering to design a new crosswalk, sidewalks, stairs and gardens. Inspired by community listening sessions, themes for the garden designs include celebrating diversity, education, healing, local heroes, and multigenerational mentoring with youth and elders.