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The renovation includes public art, common space, lots of trees and one very long slide.

City Hall Plaza in Boston in June 2019. Jessica Rinaldi / The Boston Globe

Boston’s City Hall Plaza reopens Friday after a major renovation, ushering in a new era of shared spaces, public art, and accessible features in the city’s “civic backyard.”

will happen family celebration from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., as well as an evening event from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Mayor Michelle Wu announced earlier this month.

“City Hall Plaza is a space that connects people and builds community,” Wu told reporters statement. “I am grateful for the work of all our city employees and partners to transform the square into a welcoming, flexible and accessible space for residents and visitors.”

Boston-based global design firm Sasaki led the design and construction of the plaza.

“A robust community engagement process has helped us transform the Plaza from a harsh outdoor environment into a new green space where everyone is welcome,” Sasaki director and architect Fiske Crowell said in a statement.

Here are some of the changes visitors can expect:

Fun room

The new project includes a 12,000-square-foot playground, and Sasaki calls the playground “a destination for region families and visitors of all ages.”

Playscape “enlivens the fourteen vertical feet of the existing granite staircase between the North City Hall entrance and the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) deck with opportunities for active play that sculpturally reinterprets the building’s contemporary concrete forms,” ​​the firm website notes.

Boston At-Large City Councilwoman Erin Murphy offered a demo of the slide earlier this week:

Accessibility features

The renovation also brought public paths to the square.

“Before this refurbishment, it was extremely difficult for people with disabilities to navigate the vast brick Plaza, which provides a vital link between Congress Street and Cambridge Street,” the commissioner for public affairs said in a statement. slope.”

Now, McCosh continued, “when people with disabilities ask where the route through City Hall Plaza is, I can say, ‘You don’t get it – the entire plaza is now accessible, not just one route!

public art

According to the announcement, the city issued an invitation to publicly complete the renovation, outlining opportunities for short-term work at the building’s north entrance, as well as an art exhibition outside the city hall.

  • 28 Plaza Entry at Congress 610fe5443c3c3

    According to the architect, the renovation of City Hall Plaza is halfway done

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The city selected Rhea Vedro to create the sculptural installation for the north entrance and commissioned Yuke Li to create the 2D artwork. The artwork has already been installed and the sculpture is expected in the spring. Both works will be installed for a year.

“By activating City Hall Plaza with public art and cultural events, we are cultivating a more inviting space that celebrates the communities that make up the city,” Boston’s arts and culture director Kara Elliott-Ortega said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to showcase Boston’s creative community while transforming a historic urban space.”

Green

According to the city, the project also included 100 new trees. Not just for show, the increased tree canopy will also help improve the plaza’s resilience to rising temperatures and intensifying storms, Sasaki noted.

The renovation also replaced 50 lights with efficient LED technology and reused or recycled 22,500 feet of granite and brick paving, according to a city announcement.

A meeting room

The makeover included seven new plug-and-play locations for community groups, with room for 10,000 to 12,000 visitors in the main plaza and room for 20,000 to 25,000 people to gather around the plaza, according to the release.

On his website, Sasaki advertised, among other things, “21st-century civic amenities such as shaded seating and meeting areas.”

“City Hall Square is a people’s square and now it’s a civic backyard that ALL can access and enjoy,” Boston’s chief operating officer Dion Irish said in a statement.

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