Danehy Park, Cambridge MA

Photo by RajRem via flickr.

Mayor Thomas W. Danehy Park in Cambridge, Massachusetts is a 50-acre site with a similar history to the Freshkills Park site: clay deposits onsite attracted brick manufacturing uses in the 19th century; wet, low ground led to landfilling operations in the mid-20th century; local activism and political pressure led to late 20-th century landfill closure and, ultimately, to park construction.

Danehy’s landfill operations ceased in the 1970s, after which, the site was used as a staging area for subway line extension by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) through the 1980s.  It was developed as parkland and opened to the public in 1990.  Today, it is the largest park in the City of Cambridge and hosts softball fields, soccer fields, multi-use paths, two acres of thriving wetland habitat and public art installations by Mierle Laderman Ukeles (who is also creating public artwork for Freshkills Park).  Unlike the Freshkills Park site, there is no landfill gas collection system at Danehy Park, though extensive geotechincal engineering has been performed to ensure public safety.  Landfill gas emissions and settlement continue to be monitored onsite.  The City of Cambridge has issued a nicely-illustrated brochure about the site’s history and systems.

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