On October 28, 2023, the Town of Needham hosted a grand reopening and dedication ceremony for the Town Common. Often referred to as “the front yard of the Town,” improvements to the Common now offer the community a downtown focal point to come together, enjoy the outdoors, and connect with Needham’s institutions and businesses.
BETA Group, Inc. (BETA) was hired to redesign the Common during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, when residents were spending more time outside and discovering new uses for the space such as yoga, picnics, and safely gathering in shaded areas. Together with a Steering Committee of Town partners, BETA presented several new concepts for consideration.
The chosen design features a graceful walkway layout that seamlessly connects to the corners of the site and the existing streetscape. This new radial layout opens the center of the Common and relocates walkways to the edges of the space, allowing for the creation of a Great Lawn. The updated design provides room for passive recreation and gathering in front of the Blue Tree, which is lit every year during the holiday season. The paved central terrace can also be covered with a tent for additional shade, and catenary and surface path lights have been installed to illuminate the Common at night. “This is an amazing place for friends, families, and neighbors to gather,” said Senator Rebecca Rausch. “Whether you’re getting a frozen custard or bagel, just hanging out enjoying those swings, enjoying the shade of the tent, it’s here. It’s a place to gather, a place for us to be. And what an essential thing.”
The Town Common has been dedicated in memory of Needham Town Engineer Tony Del Gaizo, who passed away unexpectedly in 2021 after a 30-year career with the Town. “Losing Tony was really hard both professionally and personally,” said Director of Public Works Carys Lustig, “but it is amazing to know that he spent the majority of his life in a profession that he loved in a community he loved. He truly embodied the spirit of Needham, and I’m so glad we’ll have another place, amongst his many projects in Town, to remember him.”