Youth Bicycling Celebrated at Future Dorchester Park (MA)

Boston, MA, 7/14/2006: The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a nonprofit organization working to create new urban parks, announced a series of summer youth programs in support of the future Elmhurst Street playground near Codman Square. The first event, called “Bike Day,” and held yesterday, saw thirty neighborhood youth receive lessons in bike repair and safety along with their new bikes and helmets, donated by the Boston Society of Vulcans.

Bike Day kicked off a series of summer youth programs for Elmhurst Street, sponsored by the Friends of Elmhurst and Spencer-Whitfield Parks. The Friends and TPL are working on a six-year project to build two new playgrounds, or “Neighborhood Backyards,” in Dorchester: one at Elmhurst Street and the other between Spencer and Whitfield streets at Aspinwall Road.

Bike Day included four stations: bike washing, bike repair, bike decorating, and bike exchange. Bernie Dell from Bernie’s Bicycle Shop on Norfolk Street taught a lesson on bike repair and maintenance.

Thirty preselected children who needed a new bike received one, along with a safety helmet. The bikes were donated by Boston Society of Vulcans and Wal-Mart as part of the Community Bike Program.

The series of summer youth programs are in support of the Neighborhood Backyards, future playgrounds at Elmhurst Street and between Spencer and Whitfield streets in Codman Square. The Neighborhood Backyards will transform vacant land there into two non-traditional playgrounds, complete with play areas, art, spray fountains, play equipment, swing sets, picnic tables, and lawns. Neighbors are working together to improve recreational opportunities for young children and families, including environmental education and active recreation for adolescents and teenagers, and to create gathering places to celebrate community events. For more than 30 years, residents have volunteered their time and energy to regularly clean the vacant land, design the playgrounds, and sponsor play and awareness days in support of the playgrounds.

Dorcas Dunham, representing the Friends of Elmhurst and Spencer-Whitfield, said, “Bike Day was so exciting because I could see into the future of this site at Elmhurst Street, and I saw the wonderful new playground we’re working to build for all the kids of the neighborhood. We want to thank The Trust for Public Land, the Society of Vulcans, the Boston Police Department, and the City of Boston for making this possible. Most importantly, there’s an invitation to children in the Codman Square area to come join us at other events this summer-and when the playground is complete!”

Other summer events for the future Elmhurst Street Park include the following:

  • Silly Olympics: Tuesday, July 18, 1-3 P.M.
  • Peace march for National Night Out: the evening of Tuesday, August 1
  • Animal visits from the Franklin Park Zoo Team: Thursday, August 3, 1-3 P.M.
  • Final public celebration: Saturday, August 12, 1-3 P.M.

The Friends of Elmhurst and Spencer-Whitfield is the neighborhood group working to build the Neighborhood Backyards. Because Codman Square has one of the lowest ratios of open space per child in Boston, the Friends sponsor activities to raise awareness about the future playgrounds, engage neighbors in planning for their community, and offer young people healthy play, encouragement, and supportive direction.

The Boston Project Ministries, affiliated with Global Ministries Christian Church and a member of the Friends of Elmhurst and Spencer Whitfield Parks, was the chief organizer of Bike Day. Other members of the Friends include the Codman Square Health Center, the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation, the Dorchester Environmental Health Coalition, and The Trust for Public Land in partnership with the City of Boston. Other sponsors of Bike Day include Bernie’s Bicycle Shop, the Boston Police Department Bicycle Unit, and the Boston Society of Vulcans.

For more information on summer activities for the future Elmhurst Street Park, contact Dorcas Dunham at (617) 825-4224, extension 144.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit conservation organization conserving land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. TPL depends on the generous support of individuals and businesses to implement its land for people mission. Through its Parks for People Program, TPL has supported the development of 56 park, open space, and community development projects in New England cities since 1985. For more information, please call (617) 367-6200 or visit, and click on the “Programs” banner.

Note to editors: For an electronic map or photograph of the property, contact Daria Ovide at (617) 367-6200 x330.