In an effort to help the community heal, the Charlestown Coalition has successfully won a Love Your Block Grant from the City that will allow them to build a Peace Park on Mt. Vernon Street Plaza.
Sarah Coughlin and Ginaya Green Murray of the Charlestown Coalition said that in the wake of divisiveness lately because of community violence and sadness due to the opiate crisis, they had been looking for something that could promote healing and peace.
One day they were walking in the Mt. Vernon Street area and found exactly what they were looking for.
In the plaza, they found a memorial stone to Robert McGrath, a well-known Charlestown resident who had been stabbed to death in an act of community violence some years ago.
“There is a great need in the community right now to heal, and we wanted to do something to address it,” said Coughlin. “The plaza needed to be updated, but there was already a memorial stone there, and its purpose was healing. It was the perfect place to create a park for the purpose of healing the community, a place that promotes unity and peacefulness. Some of the parks are very busy with playground activity and dogs being walked, but this one will be a quiet place to go. It’s an effort to heal the community.”
Greene Murray said they are excited to be able to refurbish the park.
“We are thrilled to invest in our community and bring an underutilized park to life,” she said. “To bring everyone together, especially those who have lost a loved one, while making a difference for the community as a whole makes us very excited.”
Only five winners were chosen from across the city, and the Coalition got $2,700 to put together their peace park. Work will begin in the spring and the plan is to have it conclude on June 2. Afterward, they will have an opening ceremony in which the family of Robert McGrath will attend – as well as many other families in the Town looking to promote peace.
“I congratulate all the winners of the Love Your Block mini-grants,” said Mayor Martin Walsh. “These grants will go a long way to help bring residents and communities together. Through the Love Your Block program, we are encouraging residents of Boston to show their love for their neighborhoods, one block at a time. “
Greene Murray said they plan to install landscaping, water features and the highlight item, which will be a memory stone wall. The stones will have names on them or poems, and they will be arranged in a wall structure. There will also be a mosaic created in the Plaza. All of it will center on bringing awareness to those suffering from trauma, and substance abuse disorders.
She also said they plan to have a community volunteer day to help work on the park project, but specific dates for that are yet to come.