Groundbreaking ceremony held for Michael Joyce Memorial Playground in South Boston

SOUTH BOSTON — Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Beth Card and
Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Commissioner Doug Rice joined state
and local officials and key stakeholders for the groundbreaking of the Michael Joyce
Memorial Playground located at Marine Park in the City of Boston’s South Boston
neighborhood. The $1.4 million playground renovation project will make the facility one of
the largest in DCR’s diverse portfolio of 78 playgrounds across the state. Importantly, the
new playground will include a variety of equipment for children of all abilities to

“The Baker-Polito Administration is proud to partner with the McGrath family
through Colin’s Joy Project and the Joyce Family to make major renovations to the
Michael Joyce Memorial Playground at Marine Park to ensure local children have a safe
and accessible place to play for many years to come,” said Energy and Environmental
Affairs Secretary Beth Card. “Through the design of this renovation project, the
playground will be more integrated into the park around it and improve both accessibility
and circulation for children and their families to enjoy.”

“Playgrounds are incredibly popular locations throughout the state parks system, where
children and their families come to play, socialize, and get active in an outdoor
environment,” said Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Doug
Rice. “We are thankful for the Joyce Family and the Colin’s Joy Project’s dedication as
we work together to renovate the Michael Joyce Memorial Playground at Marine Park.”
The Michael Joyce Memorial Playground was originally dedicated in 2011 to
commemorate the work Michael Joyce conducted on behalf of the immigrant community
in Massachusetts during his 20-year career at the Massachusetts State House. The
playground previously underwent a renovation in 2014 to update the equipment and make
it more accessible; however, this new project will build on the work already done to
expand the playground and further increase accessibility. Additionally, the Colin’s Joy
Project seeks to create joy for children and families through the enhancement of play
spaces and funding of family-focused programming in the South Boston area in honor of
Colin McGrath.

“Thank you for the generosity of DCR, Colin’s Joy Project, elected officials and to
everyone who made this day possible. The Michael Joyce Memorial Playground will have
a new site that is dedicated to the community of South Boston and all who will enjoy this
very creative Playground,” said Mary Joyce Morris of the Friends of Michael
Joyce. “My dad, Michael Joyce, was such a gift to so many. His roots were in
Connemara, County Galway, Ireland. His heart was in Dorchester and his life was at the
State House. He never asked a person’s race, color or creed. He would only ask ‘How
can I help.’ Truly, he taught us the true meaning of life ‘People helping people.’ My
family is overwhelmed by the remembrance of his life.”

To assist with the renovation costs, the Colin’s Joy Project has committed at least
$600,000 to the project. DCR will match these funds through its capital plan budget, and
additional funds have been dedicated to the project through the state budget. With funding
secured and after an extensive process to gain public and legislative input, the playground
renovation project is scheduled to begin Spring 2023 and will take approximately six
months to complete. The improvements to the Michael Joyce Memorial Playground will
provide passive and active recreational opportunities, create a cohesive playground design
that is integrated with the existing park, improve accessibility and circulation, and provide
interpretive signage and site furnishings. Specific improvements to the Michael Joyce
Memorial Playground include:

  • An accessible playground for age groups 2-5 years old and 5-12 years old;
  • Improvements to the facility’s lighting;
  • Improved pedestrian flow and accessible pathways consistently throughout; and,
  • The placement of bike racks.

“This renovation will ensure that that children of all abilities will be able to enjoy the
Michael Joyce Memorial Playground while increasing lighting and visibility in the
surrounding area,” said State Representative David Biele (D-Boston). “Thank you to
the Joyce family and McGrath family for your collaboration with the Department of
Conservation & Recreation on these improvements, and thank you to the Baker-Polito
Administration and Colin’s Joy Project for your partnership in investing in our public

Facilities like playgrounds assist in a child’s development of depth perception and spatial
awareness and enhance gross and fine motor skills. Importantly, playgrounds also
improve upper and lower body strength in children in an inclusive play environment. For
more information regarding DCR, its parks, and facilities, such as playgrounds, please
visit the agency’s website.

All photos by Bill Brett

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