(December 19, 2022) — 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, which is a partnership between DCR, the Colin’s Joy Project, and the Joyce Family, 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 experience. 

“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. 

 “We are thrilled to see this project moving forward,”said Kerri and Brendan McGrath, founders of the Colin’s Joy Project. “This playground means a great deal to our family, to DCR who has worked tirelessly to help turn this vision into a reality, and to the many generous donors who have contributed to Colin’s Joy Project in support of a revitalized playground for the children and families of South Boston. Colin’s laughter and smiles will surely live on through this thoughtful design and partnership with DCR, our elected officials, the Joyce family, BSC Group, and of course, Colin’s Creativity Squad.” 

“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 spaces.”   

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.  

Photo Caption: EEA Secretary Beth Card (fifth from the left) joined (from left to right) Colin’s Joy Project founders Brendan, Sloane and Kerri McGrath; DCR Playground Planner Sandra Libby; DCR Commissioner Doug Rice; Mary Joyce-Morris of the Friends of Michael Joyce; and State Representative David Biele at the Michael Joyce Memorial Playground groundbreaking.