Renovations to the 485-acre Franklin Park are near completion after six years of improvements to its pathways and entrances.
The $7.25 million project is the largest investment in the park since the golf clubhouse was opened in 1998, the Boston Parks and Recreation Department said in a statement.
Established in 1885, the park is the largest in Boston and the “crowning jewel” of park designer Frederick Law Olmsted, according to the city’s website. The park was placed in the heart of Boston so city dwellers could enjoy rural scenery.
The park used to be 527 acres, but the allotted space lost 42 acres after the construction of the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital in the 1950s, the website said.
The most significant change included the relocation of the Franklin Park maintenance yard’s entrance from Circuit Drive, which is adjacent to Lemuel Shattuck Hospital, to Canterbury Street, the statement said.
The move was intended to move traffic to and from the maintenance yard away from the main interior pathways that are frequented by cyclists and pedestrians, the statement said.
Because traffic no longer flows through the area, the city added parking markers along the curbs — where visitors usually park their cars — at the Shattuck Picnic Grove, tennis courts, and Scarboro Pond, BPR spokesman Ryan Woods said. Three parking spaces for vans were added along the curbs as well, with an accessible route for wheelchairs to the tennis courts.
And just in time for the sixth annual Turkey Trot, improvements to The Playstead Field are complete, including accessible pathways and picnic tables, the statement said.
The Franklin Park Coalition, host of the 5K on Thanksgiving Day, will be one of the first groups to enjoy the improved pathways, the statement said.
“The Boston Parks and Recreation Department could not be more pleased that this year’s Turkey Trot route will highlight the pathways project recently completed through Mayor Walsh’s Capital Plan,” BPR Commissioner Christopher Cook said. “I am happy to support the work of the Franklin Park Coalition, see Boston’s full diversity on display, and personally enjoy the run through Frederick Law Olmsted’s masterpiece. This year’s Turkey Trot certainly reminds us of all we have to be thankful for.”
Other improvements include:
■ Improved pathways on the pedestrian circle loop that circles the lower portion of Franklin Park including the William J. Devine Golf Course
■ Repointed stone bridges
■ Repaving on entrances and pathways from the former Shea Circle (now Shea Square) to Shattuck Grove, on pathways and access to Schoolmaster Hill, and on pathways around Scarboro Pond
■ Three new accessible pathways along Walnut Avenue
■ Paved pathways on the Seaver Street edge of the park, along with two new entrances along Seaver Street
■ Improved and restored entrances and accessibility at the entrances of Glenn Road, Walnut Avenue, Valley Gates, and on American Legion Highway at the playground and Franklin Hill Avenue