October 28, 2022
Post contributor:Jeffrey R. Porter, Mintz
Jeffrey R. Porter
This morning I was reminded by the Boston Globe that the City of Boston’s sale of the site of the former Winthrop Street Garage also yielded $28 million for Franklin Park in what may be one of the Walsh Administration’s greatest Environmental Justice achievements.
Franklin Park deserves at least as much attention as the Boston Common and I’m looking forward to seeing the City’s plan for it.
While it isn’t nearly as old as Boston Common, it is just as storied, having been planned by Frederick Law Olmsted, also known for his visioning of Central Park, New York’s most used urban oasis.
My Dad spent a good part of his childhood living just down the street from Franklin Park and the Zoo was one of my kids’ favorite places. I was sad to see the condition into which it fell and glad to see it begin a slow recovery in my adulthood.
We know that climate change disproportionately affects residents of our urban centers which have become dangerous “heat islands”. Franklin Park is and can be a respite from that heat. It and its attractions deserve better than they received from the State and City Governments in the 20th century. It seems that’s about to change in a meaningful way.
Change is on the horizon: The city in coming weeks is moving ahead with an action plan that will lay out improvements here for the next 20 years. These crosscurrents place Franklin Park at an inflection point, with decisions ahead that will determine the next chapter of the park’s life.
The city’s action plan for the park will be funded with $28 million from the sale of the Winthrop Square garage. Rickie Thompson, the current head of the Franklin Park Coalition, said the money represents the largest cash injection for the park in his lifetime. And since it is much beloved, there is no shortage of opinions about what city officials should change, renovate, or scrap.