Worcester’s Institute Park is poised to take the next step in its storied history. A master plan for the construction of walkable pathways throughout the park, including walkways entirely surrounding Salisbury Pond, is now at hand. The master plan has come about following significant construction funded from local, state and federal sources. Such improvements include new paving of Salisbury Street, new crosswalks at West and Boynton streets, a new concert shell in the park with refined acoustical treatments, new park restrooms and concession complex, new and upgraded electrical power to the park, the relocation and restoration of the historic Tremont Columns, which serve as part of an entranceway plaza into the park, a new park gazebo, construction of a new lighted pathway joining Boynton Street and Humboldt Avenue, and a new sidewalk (by the fall of 2017) that connects Salisbury Street to Grove Street. Improvements to the park and its immediate surroundings total nearly $5 million. Funding sources include the City of Worcester, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The stage is now set to move forward on two major initiatives for Institute Park: implementing recommendations of a master plan for accessible walkways throughout the park, including the ability to walk the entire perimeter of Salisbury Pond, and implementing recommendations of a master plan for dredging Salisbury Pond. As the headwaters of the Blackstone Canal, Salisbury Pond requires cleansing so that it can be fully enjoyed by current and future generations of park visitors.