Hancock Adams Common: Quincy’s Vision Four Decades in the Making

For the past decade, Woodard & Curran has worked with the City of Quincy, Mass. to realize a vision forty-years in the making. A city of historic significance Quincy is undergoing a major housing and economic transformation with the creation of Hancock Adams Common at the center of its revitalization. The urban park dedicated on September 8, 2018, honors Quincy-born John Hancock and former American Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams and connects historic sites including Old Town Hall, United First Parish Church, and Hancock Cemetery. 

Making way for urban open space

Where beautiful 40-foot trees now stand once was the center of Hancock Street, a 200-year-old four-lane thoroughfare, which had to be removed before any construction on the park began. Planning for this initial phase began in 2008 with work to relocate the roadway starting in 2011. Our role included public outreach, utility design, and program management of the transportation design performed by Howard Stein Hudson of Boston. We also coordinated with stakeholders, including property abutters, Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), and private utilities such as telephone and gas companies. Furthermore, there was significant outreach to ensure residents and businesses were informed about the project status, patrons were aware that businesses remained open, and the ever-shifting pedestrian walkways were well marked with way finding for the city’s various destinations.

Once Hancock Street was rerouted around the Church, we oversaw the removal of old sewer and water mains, rerouting of drainage systems, and upgrading the public and private utilities. This included work with private telephone and data providers to replace a 100-year-old wooden duct bank in which the telephone lines were first installed. Throughout the upgrade of utilities, it was critical for Woodard & Curran to ensure local customers were not impacted by loss of service.

Creating a park on par with national monuments

Quincy’s historic fathers do not have a national monument honoring their formative efforts in developing early America. Mayor Thomas Koch’s goal was to create such a space, including majestic statues of John Hancock and John Adams completed by world-renowned sculptor Sergey Eylanbekov. In effort to honor Quincy’s former industry, the city also spent four years collecting and stockpiling granite from local projects to be refinished and reused within the Common. 

The second phase of this project was no less complicated than the first. We continued to oversee the progress while working with landscape architect Halvorson Design Partnership, Inc. to finalize the park design and WES Construction Corp. to implement the design. The scope of work included landscape layout, site details for grading, drainage, and utilities, plus layout of electrical and lighting, public internet access, irrigation, fountain, and interpretative wayfinding signs.

The Common is part of a greater $27 million parks plan in which Quincy wants to ensure most of its residents can step out their front door and walk to a city park in less than 10 minutes. Its magnitude is a period appropriate linkage of United First Parish Church, Old Town Hall, and Hancock Cemetery with modern pedestrian and visitor amenities provides an innovative balance of historic and modern. Though only recently dedicated, the Common is already a point of pride for the city and it is already being enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. 


Daniel Windsor Practice Leader Community Development

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