This 60-acre park along South Boston’s coastline grew out of a plan by Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., to connect his Emerald Necklace to South Boston’s Marine Park via a system of parkways. The creation of the Dorchesterway and the Strandway spurred the development of waterfront recreation along Dorchester Bay, including Columbus Park. Designed by landscape architect Arthur Shurcliff in 1916 and built on infilled mudflats, the park included a below-grade, sunken open air track and football field, a series of baseball diamonds, and a playground. Ten acres were reserved as a wooded grove with walking paths lined with benches. In 2001 the park was renamed Joe Moakley Park in remembrance of the U.S. Congressman. In 2019 Stoss Landscape Urbanism began work on a Vision Plan to adapt the park to rising water levels of the Boston Harbor, diversify park activities, and improve waterfront accessibility.
Overlooking the crescent-shaped Carson Beach and providing views of Old Harbor, the park remains largely recreational including soccer fields, tennis courts, three baseball diamonds and a track and field stadium. Additional playfields and a playground are arranged along the park’s western border. Linden and oak trees line the park’s perimeter and shade interconnecting pedestrian pathways. The proposed redesign by Stoss elevates portions of the park and integrates stormwater management to protect the playfields and adjacent neighborhoods from flooding. The new topography allows for enhanced play features, improved views and community spaces including a waterfront amphitheater.