Park Backers Irked By Lack of Specifics From Boston 2024

Franklin Park Meeting, Thursday, March 5, 2015.

Heather Goldin

Franklin Park Meeting, Thursday, March 5, 2015.

Thursday evening, more than 150 residents from Jamaica Plain, Roxbury and Dorchester came to the Franklin Park Golf Clubhouse to listen to a presentation from the Boston 2024 executive bid committee. Event organizers from the Franklin Park Coalition expected an informative meeting for the community about what changes to the historic park could be expected, but instead attendees were met with few details and fewer answers.

The plan, at least as presented Thursday, is to renovate half of White Stadium to accommodate more spectators for parts of the Modern Pentathlon, as well as some equestrian events. Also included was the proposal to build a permanent pool for use long after the closing ceremonies, and use of the golf course area for one of the equestrian competitions.

At this stage in the planning process, Boston 2024 staff members at the meeting had a hard time answering detailed questions about how Franklin Park would be impacted, such as how long certain areas off the park would be closed off before and after the Olympics, and how new additions to the park would be maintained in the future.

“I thought it would be way more specific,” said Christine Poff, executive director of theFranklin Park Coalition.

After the meeting, Director of Olympic Operations John Fitzgerald said that the presentation wasn’t meant to be the final version, but more of a first draft.

“Right now the city is in listening mode. The mayor has the opportunity to influence the final plan by reflecting on input from the community,” he said.

Although many who came left the room frustrated with the evening’s events, the executive bid committee plans to use feedback from those local to the Franklin Park area for improvement. Fitzgerald left us with an open-ended question: “Here’s a concept, what are your thoughts?”

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  • dk12

    “’I thought it would be way more specific,’ said Christine Poff, executive director of theFranklin Park Coalition.”

    wait a minute – if you were the executive director of the franklin park coalition – wouldn’t you have reached out to the olympic organizers BEFORE the meeting? This also seems like an oddly ignorant comment from someone in a leadership position – especially since if you’ve been following any of the other meetings you’d know that they’re still doing feasibility studies.

    • FH Fan

      Sorry, but it should be the other way around. Before Boston2024 makes a commitment to use public property, they are the ones who should be reaching out and getting permission, talking to neighbors. Instead, Boston2024 submitted a bid that pledges the use of public and private land in JP, Dorchester, Cambridge, Somerville, and elsewhere, without EVER talking to property owners or elected officials in other cities.

      FPC and others did reach out, they were told to wait for meetings. Then those meetings tell them very little.

      Boston2024 is not to be trusted. They plan on requesting state legislation that will create a new building authority with powers of eminent domain.

      There are proposals in the Boston City Council that asks for public votes on the bid, and state legislation that would require transparency in any public spending related to the Olympics. Local Rep. Liz Malia has supported the legislation, thank you Liz! Waiting for Matt O’Malley to show similar commitment to looking after the interests of his constituents.

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