Friday, January 09, 2009

Conversation with Parks Department and Big Idea!

I had a conversation with a spokesperson from the Boston Parks and Recreation Department. What is clear is that the special Committee on the Parks didn't talk with them very much about mutual goals.

One good piece of information is that the fountain much talked about is being slated to be fixed this year. I guess we already have the money for that!

They confirmed that Mike Ross is a Trustee for the Fund for Parks and Recreation, a 501c3 organization already set up to raise funds for improvement of the Parks. When Councilor Ross proposes setting up a new fund or conservancy for the Boston Common is this a tacit admission by Councilor Ross that he and the organization he is a trustee of can't do the job properly? Between the Fund for Parks and Recreation and the Friends of the Common it seems as if we have plenty of groups set up to raise additional money for the Boston Common. The spokesperson said they thought the Friends of the Common had 6 million in their Trust which is huge considering the entire parks budget for the year is less than 20 million.

There seems to be a lot of confusion about the Park Rangers. I was initially told that they were hired with external funds but now there are 12 full time rangers, but then I was told that maybe some of the rangers used to be full time employees. Quite confusing, but the reality is that the overall number of employees for the Department has increased and their budget has increased so if there was a cut in rangers it was a conscious decision by the Department, the Mayor and the Council who approves their budget.

Finally, the nice person I was speaking with told me about some of the things the Parks Department would like to see done. The first is to continue the fence along Tremont Street. She said the sections are about $10,000 apiece. I suggested that she should fund raise by "selling" each section of fence with a plaque on the bottom corner that says "Donated by Kevin McCrea/Wabash Construction/2010". My college repaved our sidewalks by selling bricks with these emblems on it. I'm sure many individuals and businesses in Boston would step up to provide a section of Fence which will probably be there for at least a century or two.

I offered to buy the first section for $10,000 as long as I get the corner by Park Street and Tremont Street. I have been attending Mass at the Paulist Center on Park Street since I was a teenager, and I'd love to contribute with something permanent to the great and historic Boston Common.

She thought it a great idea, and was moved to say "you've made my day, my week, my year". I thought her praise a bit effusive, but told her I'm just happy to help out and I hope they take the ball and run with it if that is what they really need.

Remember Robert Frost, "Good fences, make good neighbors"!

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