Letter: Our Vital, Historic State Parks Need Champions

The following is an open letter to elected and appointed officials and park friends with numerous originators who wrote the letter, followed by organizations that signed onto support the letter. Representatives for the Arborway Coalition, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, Southwest Corridor Park Management Advisory Committee, and more signed the letter. Massachusetts state parks are in crisis. More than a decade of funding and staffing cuts have eviscerated the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s (DCR) ability to meet its mission “to protect, promote and enhance our common wealth of natural, cultural and recreational resources for the well-being of all,” while digging a $1.0 billion deferred
maintenance hole. The December 2021 Legislative Special Commission report on DCR (p.51) found that Massachusetts, one of the wealthiest states in the nation, nevertheless ranks last in per capita spending on state and municipal parks.

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DCR Implementing 3 Days of Closures of Southwest Corridor Park Bike Path Starting Aug. 18

On Wednesday, the Department of Conservation and Recreation announced there would be two weeks of rolling closures of the Southwest Corridor Park Bike Path starting Aug. 18. But then DCR was reminded by the public that the Orange Line is being shutdown for a month starting Aug. 19, and DCR reconsidered its plan and opted for just three days of rolling closures. The closure comes as a shock to many considering the city and MBTA have highlighted the Southwest Corridor Park Bike Path as an alternative for transportation during the Orange Line shutdown.

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DCR Working on Additional Design Alternative for Arborway Improvement Project; Will Tell Public About It In January

The acting commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Recreation recently announced that due to public feedback they've been working on a fourth design alternative for the Arborway Parkways Improvement Project. In a letter addressed to stakeholders, Acting Commissioner Stephanie Cooper said the new alternative design won't be provided until an as of yet unannounced mid-January meeting. Currently there are two traffic rotaries: Kelley Circle by Jamaica Pond and Murray Circle on Centre Street by the Arnold Arboretum. One proposal would keep both circles, one would remove Kelley Circle, and one would remove both circles. DCR announced three alternative design plans to update the Arborway in November 2020.

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