The Nantucket Islands Land Bank is a land conservation program created to acquire, hold, and manage important open spaces, resources and endangered landscapes for the use and enjoyment of the general public. The organization’s latest project is Easy Street park, which combined 21 and 27 Easy Street sites into one unified public park. Coastal Engineering Co. worked with Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates landscape architects to provide professional engineering, land surveying, and environmental permitting services required for the redevelopment.
The park consists of timber decking along the existing harbor bulkheads, brick sidewalks, decomposed granite strolling paths, and planting areas. Among other historic references, a salvaged track is set flush in brick pavement along the approximate route of the former Nantucket Railroad, which used to traverse the site.
A stone's throw from the Steamship Authority Port in the heart of downtown, Easy Street Park was designed with climate change in mind. Features such as an elevated boardwalk, open seating, and mounded garden beds with native vegetation accentuate the Land Bank's mission of creating resilient waterfront public parks.
In this location, resilience equates to flood tolerance. To that end, the park contains a number of features that accommodate salt and freshwater. The boardwalk is elevated, leaving space beneath for water retention during large rain events, storm surge, or high tide flooding. The sloped garden beds contain enough soil to keep the plants happy and healthy, but rest on top of a layer of sand. This sand layer drains quickly and will expedite the drainage of residual flood waters. The garden beds are bursting with native and flood-tolerant vegetation, all of which has an increased capacity to withstand coastal weather events. Shrubs such as sweet pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia), chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa), and beach plum (Prunus maritima) are water and salt tolerant, which is essential in an exposed location such as this. Lastly, the Easy Street Park includes a mural of historic flood events, symbolic waypoints of record high water levels during major storms. This display is meant to raise awareness about the past, present, and potential future impacts of climate change on Nantucket, as we work towards a more resilient island.
This property is free and open to the public, promoting scenic access to the waterfront and Nantucket Harbor. It is the perfect spot to stop and enjoy a coffee or ice cream with unrestricted views of bustling marine activity.