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Nunziato Stormwater & Park Project

Nunziato Field and Dog Park is the location of an important stormwater infrastructure project aimed at ameliorating flooding in the Union Square neighborhood in times of intense rain events. Upon completion of the infrastructure project, the park will be renovated to include a new natural grass playing field, dog park, and seating areas. Please join the conversation by attending the community meetings.

Meetings & Materials

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the project planned at Nunziato Field?

A: Nunziato will be reconstructed with a dog park, high performance soccer field and pedestrian plaza. Rain gardens and an 1.6 million gallon underground storm water storage tank with pump station will also be constructed.

Q: Why does a storm water system need to be at Nunziato?

A: Storm water management is an important part of our infrastructure, which affects the entire city. Nunziato is one of the few City-owned parcels that is ideally located to relieve damaging flooding in and around Union Square, including the neighborhood west of the square on Somerville Avenue and Bow Street.

Q: How does climate change affect this project?

A: Those who study climate change have recorded increased intensity of storms. The City’s plan for storm water management is based on modern climatological forecasts by the Northeast Regional Climate Center ( Building capacity for more storm water is an important part of planning for climate change.

Q: Are there other things that can be done instead of this project to relieve flooding?

A: Nunziato is part of a comprehensive strategy and a series of completed and planned projects throughout the city. The complexity of our sewer and drainage system, paired with the density of our city, limit the opportunities to relieve flooding. The City is actively prioritizing projects like Nunziato to achieve early benefits, while progressing toward larger system improvement goals. Various alternatives to improve storm water management have been, and will continue to be, considered.

Q: How will we find out about construction updates?

A: The City has established a website and email mailing list for the project, along with other traditional means of communication (flyers, postings, neighborhood events, etc.). Additionally the City will assign a community relations coordinator to field inquiries and resolve any issues that may arise during construction. Contact Luisa Oliveira ( to be added to the mail list, and visit for project updates.

Park Improvements

Q: Will the new park be handicap accessible?

A: Nunziato and the surrounding intersections will be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The walk ways, paths and amenities will allow for movement for people with all levels of physical abilities.

Q: Will any trees be removed by this project?

A: Seven trees will be removed: three are in poor health and four must be removed in order to achieve the goals of the project (eg ADA compliant pathways.) Fourteen of the existing trees will remain and an additional 18 trees will be planted at project completion.

Q: What is the footprint of the new dog park?

A: The new dog park will be approximately the same size as the existing dog park, with features to increase enrichment for dogs and the enjoyment of owners.

Q: What can be done to lessen odors at the dog park?

A: We encourage dog owners to be responsible, to pick up after dogs and to follow the rule of no more than 3 dogs per visit. We are also working on waste barrels with lids to contain odors.

Construction Mitigation

Q: What is being done to make this construction period more tolerable for the neighborhood?

A: We recognize that this project, like all construction projects, will require patience from the neighborhood. We are taking a number of steps to make the construction more bearable. These include:

  • Incorporating design elements and construction techniques, such as the secant pile method for tank construction, minimize the impact of the project in the first place
  • Restricting contractors to work hours that comply with the City’s noise ordinance (Monday- Saturday 7am to 7pm)
  • Requiring retrofit of diesel construction vehicles with pollution controls
  • Securing the site with security fencing and screening
  • Installing rodent control and requiring special handling of contractor food waste
  • Dust control including truck washing, street sweeping, suppressant sprays and sediment/erosion barriers
  • Creating a traffic management plan for vehicles and pedestrians/cyclists

Q: I have an old house/building. Is there risk of damage to my property?

A: Properties adjacent to and across from the park will be provided a pre-construction survey to document the condition of structural foundations and building interiors prior to construction. The City will also monitor for excessive vibration, groundwater level and settlement during construction, with a requirement that the Contractor adjust its operations to stay within allowable thresholds. Damage claims will be handled by the City’s contractor.

Q: Will the Community Growing Center be affected by this project?

The CGC, which is City-owned, will remain open to the public throughout construction. The parcel’s water service will be renewed, and the sidewalk in front of the CGS is planned for replacement.

Q: Where will soccer games and practices be held during construction?

A: We are working closely with the Parks & Recreation Department to keep them informed of the construction schedule. The City will coordinate alternative fields for games and practices.

Q: How will trees be protected during construction?

A: Protective fencing and timber barriers will placed to protect trees, and their roots, from damage. The City arborist will conduct site visits to monitor these systems and construction practices at tree roots.

Q: Where can I take my dog while this park is closed?

There is a small dog park at Ed Leathers Park (for smaller dogs, 1/2 mile or 10 minute walk) and another at Zero New Washington Park (1 mile or 20 minute walk). A new dog park at Lincoln Park (1/2 mile or 10 minute walk) is expected to open in Spring of 2018. These City dog parks are for residents and each handler is limited to three dogs at a time in off leash areas.

Q: Will MBTA bus service be impacted?

A: Construction in the roadway will be sequenced to maintain the flow of traffic including MBTA buses. A short-term road closure (about 2 weeks) is anticipated on Summer Street requiring temporary re-routing of bus service. These will be communicated and posted at bus stops in advance.

Q: Will street parking be impacted?

A: A portion of the parking lane on the west side of Vinal Avenue next to Nunziato Field will be closed for construction of the tank and pump station. Other short-term disruptions to street parking will occur in the project area to facilitate construction.

Programs & Initiatives

In 2023, the City created the Digital Bridge Initiative (DBI). The goal of the DBI is to support existing programming and to create new initiatives.
Join us to celebrate Somerville’s open spaces, engage with the City outside of formal meetings, and of course – enjoy some pizza.

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