The mayor's office says it finally has a plan to permanently convert the vast field of bricks outside City Hall into a place that can support even more festivals and become a place where people will want to come for more than just special events, but that the work to achieve the seemingly impossible will require it to cancel the annual winter festival that had brought hundreds of thousands of people to the plaza over the past two winters, and don't you dare think the timing might have had to do with increasing friction between the city, the festival's operator and its subcontractors.
A press release from Mayor Walsh's office includes a statement from Boston Garden Development Corp., which had run the festival, that while it's sad, it is "supportive of the City's plans and Mayor Walsh's long-term vision for this unique space."
The plaza work, expected to begin next year, will include lots of new trees and "a seasonal fountain," near the Bill Russell monument, not near the original water feature along Cambridge Street, which had to be shut because it kept leaking into the Green Line tunnel under it.
In recent years, the city has sought to turn that part of the plaza into a more welcoming space by putting out picnic benches and chairs, as well as providing such things as cornhole and giant-chess sets.
The project will also include "work to improve accessibility and access to power, water and data to ensure long-term success and profitability for the city, event organizers and vendors. "
The last time City Hall Plaza had a fountain.