Mayor Michelle Wu announced the Boston Common master plan in the park on Wednesday, shedding light on the future of the historic space.

The plan aims to achieve several goals: improve the Common’s safety and infrastructure, preserve its historical and cultural landscape, and increase accessibility and amenities throughout the park. The work will take an estimated five to seven years, according to the Rev. Maria Whitehammond, chief of environment for the city of Boston.

“This master plan is intended to bridge those gaps and provide a comprehensive framework for changes that build upon what already makes this renowned public space successful, paving the way toward a sustainable and resilient future for Boston Common,” said the city’s Parks Commissioner Ryan Woods.

A woman in a long jacket stands behind a podium with news microphones attached to the top. Behind her, a sign reads "The Boston Common master plan: a unified vision for the People's Park."
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu announces plans for the Boston Common at an event inside the park on Oct. 12, 2022.
Frankie Rowley GBH News

Under the plan, the Common would see a structural overhaul with the parks department proposing the expansion of the Tadpole Playground and visitor information center, the creation of several new amenities — such as a new athletics complex, an enclosed dog park, and a restaurant on the second floor of the skating rink — and a complete renovation of the Frog Pond.

Along with additional amenities, the plan includes infrastructure improvements, such as plans for new restrooms, seating areas, accessible entrances, pavement repairs and tree plantings.

“As you look through the plan, imagine a renewed Boston Common with more plantings and seating, improved infrastructure, and so much more,” said Woods. “A popular and historic green space that can show how a landmark urban park can anticipate and support the needs of its users. In doing so, Boston Common can set a precedent for what it means to reinvest in and celebrate our nation's most treasured places.”

The first change to the Common is set to come on the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2023, when The Embrace, a sculpture by Hank Williams, will be unveiled in the new 1965 Freedom Plaza.

“That will be a very wonderful addition and it will bring more people to this park,” said Liz Vazza, president of Friends of the Public Garden. “There'll be a whole population of people who don't necessarily see themselves in this park, we want them [represented] and we hope that they will see themselves when that comes online.”

The plan is scheduled to be implemented in phases, with phase one serving as a public commentary period from now until Nov. 30. From there, the city will implement changes based on public comments and maintenance needs will be used to create subsequent phases. A total cost has yet to be defined by the parks department, as the city’s capital budget is set in December.

“We're not going to be able to shake these trees and have dollar bills come down from them, but it is important to say, ‘Here's where we want to head,’” said Mayor Wu.