Landfill Park: From Eyesore to Asset

by John Kissida, Vice Pres.; Camp Dresser and McKee, Inc., Cambridge, MA,
Nancy K. Beaton, Proj. Engr.; Camp Dresser and McKee, Inc., Cambridge, MA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1991, Vol. 61, Issue 8, Pg. 49-51

Document Type: Feature article


By reclaiming a 50 acre landfill as a recreational area, Cambridge, Mass. increased its open space by 20%. The park includes three softball and three soccer fields, one multisport field, two children's play areas, horseshoe pits, boccie courts and trails for jogging, walking and biking. About 20 acres of slopes planted with wildflowers, more than 800 trees, a 2 acre wetland-meadow for storm-water control, restroom and garage facilities and parking for 300 cars complete the park. Settlement, ground-water and gas migration were monitored at the site before redevelopment. During redevelopment we preloaded the deep fill areas (greater than 3 ft) with 25% extra material and allowed it to settle for six to 12 months before final grading. The landfill site had originally been graded to shed runoff to the perimeter, causing flooding. In 1985 the site was regraded with depressions for temporary storm-water storage. Agrosoke crystals added to the retention area's loam help retain moisture; during drought periods, plant roots attach to the crystals and draw water from them. The deep cover at the Denehy Park site allowed additional site grading, reasonable grade transitions, plantings and utility installations without digging into the refuse layers below. The highly variable cover materials created site drainage problems and made uniform grading difficult. Wildflowers and plantings mitigate erosion and provide seasonal interest with minimal maintenance. Trees placed strategically throughout the park provide shade and protection from prevailing winds.

Subject Headings: Parking facilities | Landfills | Parks | Assets | Trees | Stormwater management | Land reclamation | Recreation

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