Institute Park
Park Image

Future Plans

Institute Park's Master Plan represents the culmination of nearly four years of efforts by a number of community participants to shape the future of this beautiful urban park. The Master Plan was undertaken by Worcester's Parks, Recreation and Cemetery Department in collaboration with WPI, the architectural firm Shepley Bulfinch, Friends of Institute Park, Inc. and many institutions and members of the public. Five public hearings were held between February 12, 2004 and September 10, 2007 in various Worcester locations and at which numerous stakeholders including neighbors and long-time users of the Park provided their thoughts, suggestions and recommendations.. In addition, a hearing was held before the Parks Commission which unanimously approved the Plan on September 20, 2007. The last hearing was held on December 11, 2007 before the Worcester City Council which likewise approved the Master Plan in its entirety.


More Information

Institute Park Pathways Master Plan

Salisbury Pond Master Plan Introduction

Salisbury Pond Bench-Scale Study

Salisbury Pond Dredging Feasibility Study

Infrastructure Elements of the Plan
Pond - Tree Coverage - Circulation Patterns - Parking - Gateways/Signage

Program Elements of the Plan
New concert shell - New pavilion - New Sneiderman Gazebo - New boat launch and relocated tennis courts - A new nature bridge - A bird watching area - Water garden - O?Connell Recreation Field - Future firefighters memorial and bridge

Phasing and Costs of the Plan

Download a pdf copy of the master plan (5.64 MB)

Polishing a city jewel commentary by Robert Z. Nemeth, Worcester Sunday Telegram, June 21, 2009.

The Friends of Institute Park is currently working diligently to raise awareness, bring community focus, and obtain resources necessary to realize the Master's Plan's ambitious goals of a revitalized Institute Park. We welcome the community's participation and support as the Master Plan is transformed from concept to reality.

Goals of the Master Plan

  1. Identify physical improvements to enhance Institute Park as a community resource
  2. Develop pedestrian circulation strategies that connect and link the surrounding community to the park
  3. Recognize the historic importance of the park and its role in the Blackstone River Corridor
  4. Protect natural areas that support unique wildlife population
  5. Provide recommendations that can enhance cultural opportunities and economic and cultural development in Worcester
  6. Identify landscape design concepts that don?t require complex and/or costly maintenance procedures


Three Parks in One

Proposed gateway along Salisbury Street Urban Park Over the course of the master plan process for Institute Park, the planning team assessed future alternatives for the three different program zones, including urban park, wetland sanctuary, and recreational park.

Urban Park

The Urban Park is located south of Salisbury Pond along the hard edge of the pond. It directly responds to the surrounding context by reacting to the urban edge of WPI and the wetland. It is more formalized with walking paths and passive recreation. The goal was to make sure that it was not over-programmed. The planning team recommends the following program elements to activate the park:

Wetland Sanctuary

The Wetland Sanctuary is located northwest of Salisbury Pond. This zone will have minimum pedestrian traffic to protect the wildlife and wetlands. The program elements allow one to observe and appreciate the wildlife in a subdued setting. The planning team recommends the following program elements to enhance the wildlife sanctuary:

Recreational Park

The Recreational Park is located north of Salisbury Pond and is accessed along Grove St. It is directly across the street from the Rural Cemetery where people walk and bike, making it a natural destination point for the community. Its program features include: