After completing streetscape improvements along Great Plain Ave, BETA worked with the Town of Needham to develop a concept plan for the restoration of the Town Common, which is often referred to as “the front yard of the Town”. Conceptual design began during the pandemic, when residents were spending more time outside and discovering new uses for the space, including yoga, eating, and safely gathering in shaded areas.
BETA collaborated with a working group comprised of Town officials and residents, presenting three new concepts for consideration. The chosen option features a graceful walkway layout that seamlessly connects to the corners of the site and previously constructed streetscape improvements. Significant improvements include shade structures with swings, seating areas accommodating wheelchairs or strollers, accessible picnic tables, shade trees, and lighting.
The new radial layout opens up the center of the Common and relocates the walkways to the edges of the space, allowing for seamless integration with the surrounding streetscape and downtown improvements. The newly created Great Lawn offers a space for passive recreation and gathering in front of the Blue Tree. A paved central terrace can be covered with a tent for a shaded refuge on sunny days, while catenary lights illuminate the space at night. Additionally, new trees have been added to refresh the Common’s aesthetic, providing a place for people to linger.
These improvements offer the community a downtown focal point to come together, enjoy the outdoors, and connect with Needham’s institutions and businesses. The project was completed and open to the public in the spring of 2023.