Historic Cambridge structure sees new life as urban green space and nature center


The Massachusetts Audubon Society held a ribbon reducing ceremony outdoors a historic powder home alongside the Charles River in Cambridge on Tuesday to announce plans to rework the granite structure into an urban nature center.

“This is the first urban green space that we have partnered on in a new era at Mass. Audubon, where we’re focused on providing more green space and more programming to urban communities,” defined Audubon President David O’Neill, talking to space residents who crowded into the stand-along structure in Magazine Park.

Cathie Zusy recalled sweeping by way of Magazine Beach Park a decade in the past with Cambridgeport neighbors, selecting up litter and bottles outdoors the previous journal constructing. By all accounts the park was an eyesore.

“When we first got started here, we just couldn’t understand how the park could be in such poor condition,” she said.

So in 2016, Zusy, a museum curator, formed Magazine Beach Partners to clean up the area, with a goal of turning the building at its core into a nature center.

“It was always our dream for the park,” Zuzy mentioned.

She partnered with native and state officers, together with The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the City of Cambridge to remake the general public space simply off Memorial Drive.

Over the years a canoe and kayak launch had been constructed and accessible from a new shoreline path. Thousands of new native plantings spruced up what had been barren patches, and the patio and terrace on the rear of the powder home was expanded.

As Magazine Beach was emptied of trash and discarded bottles hundreds extra individuals started to make use of the renovated park, however the constructing on-site was underutilized, if used in any respect.

It started as a website for storing munitions within the nineteenth century and then remodeled into a shower home, an MDC storage (previously Metropolitan District Commission), and, most just lately, a largely deserted structure.

Shortly after its formation, Magazine Beach Partners reached out to the Audubon Society to take over the powder home, mentioned O’Neill. “But we as an organization, we weren’t prepared or ready. And then when I joined about a year and a half ago, I got a call from Cathie Zusy and she said, ‘You’ve got to come down and see this space and see the opportunities that exist here.’ So we did.”

The Audubon Society mentioned the urban nature center fulfills a part of its 5-year Action Agenda consisting of three main priorities: Protecting Resilient Landscapes and Promoting Biodiversity; Committing to Inclusive and Equitable Access to Nature; and Taking Meaningful Action Against Climate Change.

During the ceremony, a couple of dozen individuals had been scattered throughout the park: a person taking images, a number of individuals exercising and others sitting alongside the river’s edge.

Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui mentioned whereas talking on the occasion that the new nature center shall be an added attraction.

“This park will hopefully be a center of group and tradition, and we’re actually fortunate to have an awesome associate in Mass. Audubon,” she mentioned. “I’ve little doubt that they are going to be unbelievable stewards of this park and set a excessive bar for what group engagement can seem like.”

The Audubon Society plans to start out winter programming outdoors the power in December and will open the nature center to the general public within the spring of 2022.