For Immediate Release
April 08, 2013
Parks and Recreation
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City officials joined members of the Liff family and open space advocates at the historic Parkman House on Beacon Hill on the afternoon of Thursday, April 4, to announce that a portion of the Emerald Necklace park system in the Back Bay Fens will be named Justine Mee Liff Park. The naming of the parkland honors the late Justine M. Liff, who served as Boston Parks and Recreation Commissioner from 1996 until her untimely passing in 2002.
The area - known in official assessing records as Ward 4, Parcel 1994-001 located at the intersection of Park Drive, Brookline Avenue, and the Riverway - is commonly referred to as “the missing link.” The parcel was covered by land for decades with a portion of the Muddy River channeled through underground pipes. The surface was later paved over for use as the Sears parking lot. The site was returned to the city by developers and trees and grass were planted during Liff’s tenure, but until now the waterway has remained buried. The river will eventually be opened during the Muddy River Restoration Project.
“Justine Liff was dedicated to restoring Frederick Law Olmsted’s original vision of the Emerald Necklace and the flowing Muddy River,” noted Mayor Menino. “I can think of no better way to honor her dedication and love for these parks than to name this vital link in her memory.”
Phase One of the Muddy River Restoration Project involves installation of 10-foot by 24-foot culverts to carry the Muddy River under the Riverway and Brookline Avenue, realignment of the traffic pattern around the Landmark Center including removal of the jug handle road, and daylighting of the Muddy River in the areas in front of the Landmark Center and between Brookline Avenue and Avenue Louis Pasteur. The work will include new river crossings with granite-faced bridges and enhanced wetland plantings.
“Justine’s dream is finally becoming a reality,” Mayor Menino stated. “The ‘missing link’ will become a lovely park where the river will once again be visible to the public. It will be a fitting tribute to one of the greatest public servants I have even known.”
Justine Liff joined the Boston Parks Department as Director of Planning and Development in 1987 and became the first female Parks and Recreation Commissioner in 1996. During her career, Justine had more than 20 years of service in public and private settings including, department and project management, policy and program development, strategic planning, capital budgeting, administration and public/private partnerships.