Image via Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Conseravancy

After much anticipation, spring has finally sprung in Boston and for the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway the new season marks the beginning of a new era. On Monday, April 6, the Greenway Conservancy broke ground on a number of aesthetic and functional improvements worth $400,000.

The upgrades will be made to the North End Park section of the Greenway and include the replacement of 8 steel benches with hanging porch swings.

The idea for the swings were made public at a community meeting back in February but a structural feasibility study of the pergola (the park’s overhanging metal structure) was needed before confirmation. It’s from there that the swings will hang.

“We are excited to have be able to make the North End Parks more beautiful and welcoming for those who are playing in the fountains, picnicking on the lawns, and enjoying a cannoli at the tables,” said Jesse Brackenbury, Executive Director of the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. “We are so appreciative of the support of the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund and Normandy Real Estate Partners and Harbinger Development.”

The benches have been in need of rehabilitation for quite some time. Clearly weatherbeaten, the benches simply absorb too much sun in the summertime and become uncomfortably hot to sit on and in the winter, if they’re not buried under mountains of snow, they’re too cold to the touch.

Equally excited for the swings is state Representative Aaron Michlewitz, whose district includes the North End.

“I am delighted that funding from the Commonwealth can leverage private sector support for a terrific set of Greenway improvements,” added Rep. Michlewitz in a statement. “I look forward to taking a swing on the new benches this summer.”

According to the Greenway, the social media response to the idea of the porch swings was “overwhelming.”

The cost of the replacing the benches is expected to be in the neighborhood of $90,000.

Accompanying Greenway projects include the renovation of of a boxwood garden situated between Hanover and Sudbury streets as well as new pavement-level lights along the Freedom Trail. Those will cost approximately $185,000 and $40,000, respectively.

On Wednesday, April 15, the fifth public hearing will convene pertaining to the Central Artery ramp parcels. This blank slate of a project is part of a Big Dig stipulation that called for some kind of roof or cover to the ramps that carry cars from the streets running parallel to the Greenway to the Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, Jr. Tunnel below ground.