Saturday, October 31, 2009

City trying to sell off valuable Park Land?

Dear Mr. McCrea,

I am writing you this email with the hope that you will look into a story that I think you and your blog readers will find very interesting. As a fellow resident of Boston, I think you will find the actions of our elected officials appalling. I am referring to the Mary Cummings Park.

Mary Cummings Park is a Land Trust overseen by the City of Boston, but the land itself lies in the Town of Burlington and the City of Woburn. In case you are not familiar with Mary Cummings Park, please allow me to provide some background.

Mary Cummings died in 1927 and left her vast estate of over 200 acres to the City of Boston as a Land Trust. In her will she stated that the land was to be kept and maintained in perpetuity as open space. This land is now the 12th largest park inside of the Rt. 128 area.

In addition, Mary Cummings left some buildings that she owned in downtown Boston to her trust. In 1929, the City of Boston seized the buildings by eminent domain and that money is still owed to the trust, which with interest is now worth millions of dollars.

Over the years, programs brought many children from Boston to enjoy the woods and fields of Cummings Park. Children camped, grew vegetables, and enjoyed nature in a way that is not readily available to most kids in Boston.

However, since 1993, all programming has ceased at the park, and the City of Boston has spent virtually no money on the park. In fact, of late, the only money the City of Boston has spent on the park has been on No Trespassing signs and lawyers and engineers who are looking to break the Cummings Trust and sell off the land for residential and commercial development. This would be a direct violation of the Mary Cummings Trust. Some proposals have called for a golf course or to sell the land to pay for the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

Mayor Menino who claims to have the best interests of the residents of Boston at heart, particularly its children, has clearly demonstrated that he is quite comfortable with depriving inner-city kids the opportunity to experience and enjoy a beautiful park that was intended for their use. Once again, Menino would like to set up his developer buddies/campaign donors with a sweetheart/backroom deal.

I apologize for this long email, but as you can see, the issue is quite involved.

It would be a shame for the residents of Boston, Woburn, Burlington, and the people from the surrounding area if this land was sold and developed. I urge you to visit the Friend of Mary Cummings website.

Particularly the page concerning the vision for the park:

and the documents page which outlines what the City of Boston has done to try and break the Mary Cummings Trust:

The Boston Globe and the Boston Herald have both largely ignored this story. Lately, the Change for Boston website, and the Northeastern University Student Newspaper, The Huntington, has brought attention to it. I invite you to read there stories:

Thank you for your time.

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