Courtyard Redesign Final Community Meeting

COGdesign volunteer landscape architects Anjali Joshi and G Laster design concept for the Temple Courtyard.

Temple Courtyard Redesign

On Monday, June 6, between 6:00 and 7:30 pm, twelve Chelsea community group members met with COGdesign liaison Jean Krasnow and COGdesign volunteer landscape architects Anjali Joshi and G Laster for the third and final time.

This meeting was for the community representatives to review the landscape architects’ recommended design concept for Temple Emmanuel’s courtyard. The community representatives asked, and the COGdesign personnel answered questions concerning the following:

  • The pros and cons of a wooden privacy fence between the Temple’s land and the abutting neighbor and the appropriate way to broach the proposed barrier to the neighbor
  • The pros and cons of a solar powered water feature and solar powered lighting
  • Shifting from a gazebo to a durable and easily maintained metal pergola that can serve as a marriage trellis or the hut in which Jews spend time during the celebration of Sukkot
  • The importance of conducting a comprehensive survey of Temple Emmanuel’s property in the absence of such a survey in the City Assessor’s records
  • The choice of a ground-level multi-use stage/patio instead of a raised one.
  • The necessity for a landscaping sequence to move from hardscape to planting to benches to fencing to lighting, but only after first completing the anticipated restoration and preservation work on the Temple building’s external envelope
  • The reasoning behind 12 to 30 inch-high shrubs in the design concept’s loose labyrinth
  • Why there is no need for an arborist to maintain the plantings selected, and most of the maintenance tasks will be no more frequent than seasonal
  • Alternative spaces for the design concept’s water feature, considering the annual religious holiday ritual of Tashlich, when Jews cast breadcrumbs upon a river or stream as they confess their sins
  • The pros and cons of water harvesting
  • Altering the final design concept to provide public access to the courtyard’s two war memorial monuments by adding two side gates at the Cary Avenue-Gardner Street corner and shortening two of the shrubs separating the memorials from the rest of the contemplation garden
  • The pros and cons of obtaining free trees from the City of Chelsea to cut costs
  • The biodiversity advantages of planting pollinating perennials
  • Next steps: refining the design, securing the necessary permitting, soliciting contractor bids

The participants broadly agreed that the COGdesign landscape architects’ design concept had a transformative potential that was highly desirable.

Herb Selesnick

Community Engagement Coordinator

Temple Emmanuel of Chelsea