Franklin Park Advocates Want You to Contact Councilors to Ask Them to Override Mayor’s Budget

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The Franklin Park Coalition (FPC) is imploring Bostonians to contact the six city councilors who are not supporting the budget package that includes an amendment for additional Franklin Park maintenance.

And time is short because the last city council budget vote is Wednesday at noon (City Hall, 5th Floor).

In an email newsletter, FPC said District 7 City Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson, who has the whole park in her District 7 and chairs the Ways & Means (Budget) Committee, " ...asked us to show up for one last chance to pass the City budget with funding for Franklin Park maintenance and management."

Due to the sale of downtown's Winthrop Square Garage, the city provided $28 million to Franklin Park Coalition. $5 million will remain as the principal while the interest it generates will be available as cash every year: 70% for maintenance and 30% for programming. The maintenance projects and cultural/recreational programs are chosen via a vote by the trustees of Franklin Park.

The other $23 million is designated for capital projects, and the community has provided input during the recent Franklin Park Action Plan comment period to prioritize projects in the first phase of the plan. Each project in the first phase will undergo its own community-led design process.

The Franklin Park Action Plan also called for more employees to be hired to implement the plan, but money to fill those positions was not included in the budget. A Boston Parks and Recreation spokesperson said the department's proposed budget is based on identifying areas of greatest need and can't guarantee which items will be approved for funding after being reviewed by the mayor's budget office and the budget process.

The proposed budget does include $250,000 for a feasibility study for the Elma Lewis Playhouse, and $900,000 for repairs and improvements to secure and provide safe access to the Bear Dens. This year the Trustees of the Franklin Park Trust have allocated $400,000 for maintenance projects for things such as removing invasive plants, turf management, cobble gutter vegetation clearing, Glen Road paving, wilderness picnic area rehabilitation, programming for events, and more.

"Even though Franklin Park was given funds from the sale of the Winthrop Square garage downtown, these are for capital improvements -- not the everyday maintenance, woodlands care, and management so desperately needed," wrote FPC. "They can only be paid for from the City's operating budget...Budget advocacy is complicated!"

The FPC is asking resident to make one more pitch to the councilors who are not supporting the budget package that includes the Franklin Park amendment for maintenance. You can email those city councilors by clicking on the links: Frank BakerMichael FlahertyErin MurphyGabriela Coletta, and Ed Flynn. Or you can call 617-635-3040 and ask for their office.

"The message is simple: 'Please override the Mayor's budget and support the amendments that will mean much-needed maintenance for Franklin Park.'"