Wednesday, May 22, 2024

A rendering of a proposed Gateway Pavilion in Cambridge’s Danehy Park. (Image: City of Cambridge)

Cambridge plans to build a 5,800-square-foot Danehy Gateway Pavilion for high school sports teams – including restrooms, changing and locker rooms, an athletic trainer’s office, a coach’s office, storage for athletic equipment and multipurpose space that can resolve continued complaints of a lack of equity for female athletes.

The Danehy Park facility at 100 New St., Neighborhood 9, will include public restrooms and be a net-zero-emissions building with public art, the city said in a Wednesday press release.

Construction is expected to begin in early 2024. A community meeting is being scheduled for late spring to provide an overview of the project’s design and timeline. A dollar amount for the project wasn’t immediately supplied.

The project was given $11 million in May from free cash at the request of the City Manager’s Office.

“The Danehy Gateway Pavilion is the product of many important community conversations about the need for Cambridge’s female athletes, coaches and staff to have better athletic amenities,” said Adam Corbeil, director of Cambridge Recreation. “In addition to supporting Cambridge’s female athletes, we hope that the building will serve as a gateway for the entire community to enjoy all Danehy Park has to offer.”

The 55-acre Danehy Park hosts around 8,000 hours of sports for youth and adults annually, with primary users identified by staff as Cambridge Rindge and Latin School Girl’s Athletic Teams, Cambridge Youth Soccer, Cambridge Youth Lacrosse and Girls Youth Softball. “This accounts for several thousand young athletes on a weekly basis that have scheduled games and events against local and area teams,” staff said. “Currently there is no changing facility and limited equipment storage and bathroom options to accommodate the variety of teams using the facility.”

The pavilion project will include lighting improvements to Danehy Dog Park, the renovation of a New Street parking lot with a solar photovoltaic array and provisions for future electric vehicle charging stations, landscape improvements and public Internet access, City Manager Yi-An Huang said.

With CRLS teams the biggest winners from the project, sports staff at the school said they were excited by what’s planned.

“This facility takes Danehy Park to the next level as far as community recreation and public school athletics,” said Kara Brown, a CRLS athletic trainer.

Meg Willette, head coach for the school’s girls varsity soccer team, said the facility would “increase comfort for visiting teams, refs and supporters, which will truly give our students a sense of pride and value.”

It’ll be good to have place for medical treatment, and having a place to go to “flee from lightning,” Willette said, “is something we are very excited about.”

Storms have been a problem for girls’ sports at Danehy, where the fields used by their teams have long lacked the shielding and landscaping that get boys’ teams back to playing more quickly and safely. The equity issues date back decades.

The project is a collaboration of the departments of Public Works and the Human Service Programs Recreation Division. Information is at cambridgema.gov/DanehyGatewayPavilion.


This post took significant amounts of material from a press release.