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Program Elements of the Plan

Proposed elements of the plan Recreation Field Bird Watching Nature Bridge Water Garden Sneiderman Gazebo Picnic Area Pavilion Concert Shell Tennis Courts Boat Launch Picnic Area Walking Paths Firefighters' Memorial

Explore the plans for Institute Park by clicking the map
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New concert shell

New Concert Shell A new concert shell will be built to replace the existing pavilion. The new concert shell will be built with amenities such as a roof, artists' dressing rooms, and state of the art sound and lighting systems. The park will need to update the electrical system and other data transmission lines for high definition usage from the stage. The shell will be located near the south-easterly corner of the park adjacent to Humboldt Ave. This will allow for vehicular access to the concert shell's back stage, easing load-in and load-out, as well as taking advantage of the full expanse of the Salisbury St. side of the park for larger scale concerts and other civic events.

The new concert shell will be viewed from all sides; thus it will be important that each facade act as a front in terms of scale and aesthetics. Each facade will need to have a direct relationship with the surrounding context with both formal and informal connections.

The new concert shell will draw thousands from all across the state and beyond. It will be located so that it can best accommodate an augmented number of people for such concerts. The space will allow for other users to rent the concert shell and become a resource for everyone in the community.

Renovations to existing pavilion

Plans for renovations Until sufficient funds can be raised to permit construction of the new concert shell, interim improvements to the existing pavilion will be made. Construction of those improvements will commence in July 2010, and will include the installation of a removable roof and upgraded electrical power to the existing stage area. When the new concert shell is constructed, the roof to the existing pavilion will be relocated and serve as a permanent shade for a plaza to be located near the existing restroom facility at which will be located a new concession pavilion, described below.

New pavilion

New Concert Shell A new concession/pavilion will be located near Salisbury Street where the current bathhouse is located. The pavilion will accommodate new restrooms, food concession stand, and information and ticket kiosks.

New Sneiderman Gazebo

New Concert Shell The Sneiderman family has agreed that if the pavilion no longer serves as the primary location for concerts, then as a tribute to Mr. Sneiderman's original generosity, a Sneiderman Gazebo will be built on the site of the historical overlook. It will be located on axis with the main artery of WPI. The Sneiderman Gazebo will provide a place in the park that can be used as a small venue for solo performances, poetry readings, etc., and can be used by WPI as a place where professors can hold informal outdoor lectures.

New boat launch and relocated tennis courts

The eastern edge of the park along Humboldt Ave. will be the more active area in the park. The three tennis courts will be relocated from Salisbury St. to Humboldt Ave and a small area for parking to accommodate both the proposed boat launch and tennis courts will be in this location.

Walking paths, picnic pavilions, seating areas, information kiosks

Pathways A new circulation system will be incorporated into the recommended master plan. The sidewalk located around the edge of the park will be replaced with a six foot sidewalk to accommodate pedestrians. The interior sidewalk treatment will integrate the natural terrain of the park and will be of high aesthetic quality. All future sidewalk treatment will be handicap accessible. The pathway will engage the pond and will provide destination points that mark strategic views into the park. The circulation patterns provide access to the surrounding context of the park. All the pathways and key entry points are to be lined with light fixtures to accommodate security in the park.

The information kiosk at the new pavilion will help in disclosing the history of the park. Other kiosks will be placed throughout the park to allow the community to learn about the history of Institute Park. These kiosks can educate children and adults about the rich history and wildlife in the park.

A new nature bridge

Nature Bridge The circulation system will allow one to move through the different zones by means of bridges. A nature bridge is to be located where the old historic bridge once stood connecting the urban park to the wetland sanctuary. Once one crosses the bridge one is located on a small island surrounded by wetlands. This is a destination point and does not allow access through the wetlands. This destination point would allow one to view the wildlife without disrupting it.

A bird watching area

Bird Blinds To facilitate bird watching, blinds will be placed throughout the island. The planning team is aware and is investigating the safety and vandalism concerns associated with this programmatic element. The team is also currently investigating the topography and the surrounding land use to create a pathway that would allow one to circulate the pond from the northwest corner of the wetlands.

Water garden

Water Garden This garden will be designed not only to afford visitors a visual treat and an educational view of the life at the water's edge, but also to provide a natural cleansing of the pond itself.

O'Connell Recreation Field

New Field This existing field, located along Grove St., will be updated with new equipment including goal posts, soccer goals, etc. A new entry/fence will provide a safe location for children and adults to play recreational sports. Updated equipment and a gate that can be locked to keep the field secure during off-peak hours is recommended.

Future firefighters memorial and bridge

There is space in the recreational park for the firefighters memorial that has been planned by the Worcester Fire Fighters Memorial Committee. As part of the memorial, a bridge spanning across Salisbury Pond would activate the space of the entire park, providing fluid movement to different program elements.

For details on these elements, visit the website of the Worcester Fire Fighters Memorial Committee at