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
The following is a summary of the Franklin Park Action Plan that includes recommendations for particular locations. Keep in mind that the Franklin Park Coalition board "regards many of these recommendations favorably," according to the plan's summary. But it is not an endorsement. The board has submitted comments on the Franklin Park Action Plan, including both endorsements and objections, to the Parks and Recreation Department in a separate document which will be made available on the Franklin Park Coalition website. You can register for a virtual public meeting hosted by the coalition about the action plan on Feb.
Coyotes are seen around Jamaica Plain, but not always heard. But Jamaica Plain resident Jennifer Uhrhane was recently able to record coyotes having a howling good time in Franklin Park. Uhrhane has lived in Jamaica Plain since 2004 and for the first time ever spotted a coyote running in Franklin Park past the tennis courts in mid-December. "As soon as we approached the tennis courts we heard the howling. It was really loud, and sounded like they were right next to us (though we couldn’t see them in the dark woods)," said Uhrhane.
It's been rather cold and dreary of late, but that didn't stop a beautiful coyote from enjoying an afternoon in Franklin Park. The coyote was out and about near the picnic tables by the tennis courts by the Shattuck Hospital on Dec. 23, 2022. Actually, two coyotes were seen -- but we only got good video of one of the coyotes. Maybe next time we'll get both on video.
Mayor Michelle Wu announced the release of the new Franklin Park Action Plan, a 230-page report that provides a vision for the future of the 527-acre park. Already the city wants the public to share their perspectives on the plan and community priorities among many projects related to restoring historic structures, improving access for all transportation modes, dedicated spaces for cultural and recreational purposes, and ecological considerations. The plan can be viewed on the Franklin Park Action Plan website along with a form to capture feedback during the 60-day comment period that ends on February 10, 2023. The plan’s recommendations include the following:
Restoring and activating the Bear Dens with new uses;
Reintroducing the Elma Lewis Playhouse to the Overlook with a new stage, restrooms, and seating;
Upgrading active spaces like trails, play areas, athletic fields, and picnic sites;
Creating a welcoming “front porch” for the Blue Hill Avenue entrance at Peabody Circle with terraced seating;
Rehabilitating the landscape of the park by removing invasive plants, cutting back vegetation to reveal the park’s sweeping vistas, and planting new native species and trees. The plan said that "abundant entrances" serve the Jamaica Plain community, that feed people to numerous spaces with active and passive uses, including the Playstead and White Stadium, El Parquesito Playground, Glen Road, and The Wilderness.
Longtime community activist and Franklin Park Coalition member Jean McGuire was in the hospital and stable after being attacked while walking her dogs in Franklin Park. She was attacked on Oct. 11 around 8:30 pm and was found unconscious near White Stadium along Playstead Road near the Bear Dens and Long Crouch Woods by Boston Police. She had been stabbed several times, according to a Boston Police Facebook post. She was attacked by an unknown suspect(s), and was transported to a hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries. McGuire, 91, has walked her dog safely and night for decades, according to an email by Rickie Thompson, President of the Franklin Park Coalition board of directors
After a two-year hiatus due to COVID, the 55th Puerto Rican Festival and Parade is returning to Franklin Park on July 31. At noon on Sunday, the parade will proceed from Cedar Street and Columbus Avenue to Franklin Park. The parade is the culmination of the three-day Puerto Rican Festival, which is projected to draw more than 90,000 people during three days. There will be performances by local and international artists, Puerto Rican food, local arts and crafts, and many more activities for all ages. Click here for the musical line-up, which begins at 3 pm on each day. Boston’s Department of Veterans Services Commissioner Robert Santiago will serve as the Grand Marshal.
Back on My Feet recently launched a new running/walking team at Franklin Park. We are looking for morning run/walk volunteers to join us one morning a week. We're running/walking Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Be a part of something greater than yourself. Join us today by clicking here.