Mayor Michelle Wu said that the city will be hiring a dedicated full-time administrator and six new full-time maintenance and natural resources staff that will bring dedicated staff for Franklin Park to its highest level in more than 50 years. During Wu's State of the City Address on Tuesday, she said the city will act on the recommendations of the Franklin Park Action Plan, and hire the new staff members. Currently, the park has three dedicated maintenance staff, and city will also begin the process for community input and design to reimagine and invest in a home for the Elma Lewis Playhouse. “The Franklin Park Coalition is thrilled to celebrate Mayor Wu’s significant new investments in Franklin Park,” said Rickie Thompson, President of the Franklin Park Coalition, via press release. “The Coalition has been advocating for renovations and additional staffing for a significant time.
The proposal to rehabilitate Franklin Park's White Stadium to turn into the home field of a new women's soccer league team, better serve Boston Public Schools and community events, will be discussed in a virtual public meeting on Jan. 11. The city. Boston Public Schools, and Boston Unity Soccer Partners are partnering together to make renovations that would include adding spectator viewing areas, a concourse, bathrooms, space for retail, space for food/beverage area, entertainment amenities, locker rooms, press/media space, and more. The unnamed as of yet National Women's Soccer League team is planning to start playing at the site in 2026.
There will be a virtual public meeting on Tuesday to discuss the state's proposal to redevelop the Shattuck campus to include new treatment beds, permanent supportive housing, family supportive housing and emergency housing beds, and more. The state had put out a request for proposals (RFP) to redevelop the campus located at 170 Morton St. at Franklin Park in Jamaica Plain, and received only one proposal. The state provisionally accepted the proposal of the Boston Medical Center (BMC) which includes two facilities with 326 treatment beds, 200 units of permanent supportive housing, 205 units of family supportive housing, 120 emergency housing beds, and seven-plus acres of green and open space. According to the state's website, the proposal is not a final plan.
City officials are hosting a meeting to discuss revitalizing Franklin Park's White Stadium to be the "centerpiece of Boston Public Schools athletics" on July 13. White Stadium was constructed in 1945 in the Playstead area of Franklin Park, and since then it has held many sporting events -- football games, track meets, and a lot more. Sadly, the stadium is in disrepair, isn't up to code and doesn't meet accessibility requirements, said the city. But the city is planning a signifiant investment in the stadium and athletics facilities. After a recent assessment, desired improvements will include an expanded staff office, a modern press box, improved locker rooms, and an 8-lane track, according to the city's website.
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.
If you've got a kite, bring it -- if you don't, don't worry, you can buy one at the annual Franklin Park Kite & Bike Festival on May 20. The Haiti Kite Team will be on hand to help novices learn to fly a kite. There will be bike and trike activities for younger children with Franklin Park Coalition's partner Countdown to Kindergarten. Free helmets will be distributed by Boston Children's Hospital. There will also be a bike repair station sponsored by REI.
Children created their own personalized, eco-friendly homes for the woodland fairies of Franklin Park while wearing their favorite fairy and elf costumes. It was a beautiful morning at the annual Fairy House Building Workshop at Franklin Park's Schoolmaster Hill hosted by the Boston Parks and Recreation Department and the Mayor's Mural Crew on April 20. (Photos by Jon Seamans for Boston Parks and Recreation)
The following letter was sent to State Senator, State Representatives, City Councilors, Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council, Franklin Park Coalition, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, and press regarding the recently released Franklin Park Action Plan. Dear Mayor Wu, Rev. White-Hammond, and Commissioner Woods,
We respectfully request that you hold a series of community meetings to present and review the Franklin Park Action Plan in manageable but detailed sections, to answer questions and make clarifications about vague language in the plan. We appreciate that there is an online comment form and that the comment period has been extended to March 3. In recent weeks, hardcopies of the plan were also put in selected libraries for people to review, but this is not a robust enough community feedback process for such a large and impactful plan for Boston’s biggest park. A completely unidirectional input process has been set up that does not allow for people to ask questions or have plan language clarified.
Rachel Vanderkruik shared this video with Jamaica Plain News of three coyotes strolling through Franklin Park in late January. "I saw them by the William J. Devine Golf Course -- seems they had just crossed over Circuit Drive from the Franklin Park Picnic area. I was out running with my dog and at first just saw one and thought it was a dog off of the leash, but then the other two came along," said Vanderkruik. This continues Jamaica Plain News' recent coverage of coyotes in the neighborhood -- hear them howl and check out a duo near the tennis courts/picnic area. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjuUgn7humA