Fisher Hill Reservoir Park

Architectural drawing depicting final view of a park project
The Fisher Hill Reservoir Park project is an exciting and unique project in which the Town of Brookline is converting the former MWRA Fisher Hill Reservoir on Fisher Avenue, into a 10-acre park in an urban community with a clear deficit of open space. After a lengthy planning process, the town acquired the reservoir property from the state, and completed a final park design development process, with significant public input and support. The town is securing additional funding to implement the preferred design, and construction is underway.

View the Fisher Hill Reservoir Park Photo Album
View the Fisher Hill Reservoir Park Project Description
Latest Development News
January 2014
Construction commenced with site preparation and land clearing operations. This included cutting and removing invasive, unhealthy and dead trees and other vegetation, which comprised the majority of the plant material on site. The project will include extensive replanting with a mix of evergreen and deciduous tree, shrub and herbaceous species.

As of mid-month most of the site had been cut and remains to be cleared out, including chipping of wood and removal / grinding of stumps. Land clearing should be completed by the end of the month. After the clearing and weather permitting, the general contractor will proceed with site work, including selective demolition, stripping and stockpiling of loam, and rough grading.

December 2013
Contract awarded and executed to Argus Construction Corporation.

November 2013
Project construction services go out to bid with the release of the request for proposals.

October 2013
Final construction bid documents have been completed by the town and the design consultant team, Klopfer Martin Design Group (KMDG).

September 2013
The Park and Recreation Commission and Fisher Hill Reservoir Park Design Committee approved the final park plan and project priorities and add-alternates.

June 2013
A preservation restriction was approved and executed for the historic gatehouse.

May 2013
Town meeting approved an additional $1.2 million of capital funding for completion of the Fisher Hill Reservoir Park project.

December 2012
The town was selected for Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) grant assistance from the state Division of Conservation Services, in the amount of $400,000 for park construction and development.

July 2012
The Park and Recreation Commission approved the final conceptual design as recommended by the Fisher Hill Reservoir Park Design Review Committee.

The final Fisher Hill Reservoir Park design will result in a spectacular new park in a high density neighborhood in the center of the town, with both active and passive recreational opportunities to serve a multigenerational community, preservation of the historic gatehouse and creative reuse of the reservoir berms and topography, a variety of plantings and wildlife habitat including woodlands and a wet meadow in addition to an open lawn area, and amenities such as seating and accessible walking paths, a comfort station, and parking.

Recreational opportunities include a new athletic field suitable for soccer, lacrosse and other sports, which will help meet a town-wide need for additional athletic fields, as well serving as a great lawn for relaxation and events. The town currently has very few designated rectangular playing fields, with the nearest over 1.5 miles away, and most existing fields are smaller in size and/or the field is overlapped by baseball / softball fields. The new park will also provide the closest athletic field to Brookline High School.

A significant portion of the reservoir berm is being retained and will serve as seating and open play space. Other play and gathering spaces exist throughout the site, including a hilltop seating area and viewing platform, which will provide views of the park and the surrounding skyline, as well as space that will be used as an outdoor classroom for environmental and other educational programs. By the Fisher Avenue side of the park, there will be a beautiful promenade with benches, plantings, and site interpretation. This space will provide not only a grand entrance and views into the park, but will also showcase the historic gatehouse.

This gatehouse was built in 1887, designed by Arthur Vinal, and is an important visual marker of the historic nature of the site. Its reuse will assure its permanent presence in the life of the community.

Interpretation will include a map highlighting the larger water system and the history of the reservoir, as well as interpretive signage and education about the storm water management and other environmental features onsite. Storm water management has been carefully considered and will include appropriate elements such as a swale by the parking lot and a wet meadow, which will also provide a wildlife habitat. A woodland area along the back and sides of the site will include a variety of native plantings in various layers from a woodland canopy to understory trees and shrubs to an herbaceous layer.

Walking Path & Wildlife Habitat
Visitors will be able to enjoy walking paths through the woodland as well as a boardwalk through the wet meadow, and plantings will provide year round habitat for wildlife, and screening for neighbors adjacent to the property. The park development will entail removal of a significant amount of invasive vegetation, but will greatly add to the tree cover with the planting of over 1,700 new native trees, including 25 trees being donated by the non-profit Brookline GreenSpace Alliance (BGSA) in honor of their 25th anniversary. The design review process included working with BGSA on a suitable location for these beneficial trees.

Finally, the design process included a parking and traffic analysis, as well as a noise analysis, to help ensure that the park will be a positive addition to the neighborhood.