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Summer Party 2016: It’s all about the parks!

July 26, 2016

The Friends annual Summer Party benefitting our  work on the Boston Common, the Public Garden and the Commonwealth Mall. A sold out crowd of over 225 people enjoyed socializing with excellent drinks and hors d’ouevres taking in the view from the famed Taj Rooftop overlooking Boston’s iconic parks. The Friends would like to thank First Republic Bank for their sponsorship.

The event was covered online by Erica Corsano from the Herald, Bill Brett from the Globe and blogger JQLouise.

Making History on the Common 2016

June 15, 2016

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Just over 1000 Boston elementary school students in grades 3-5 participated in the Friends of the Public Garden’s seventh annual Making History on the Common on June 6th.

It was a fun-filled, action-packed day of learning. Some of the activities included:
  • “Food Will Win the War” led by educators from Historic New England, students learned about the victory gardens on Boston Common during the war;
  • Instruction on how to plant a Native American “three sisters” garden of corn, beans and squash;
  • Colonial games and trades led by educators from Historic New England;
  • A performance by the Wampanoag Nation Singers and Dancers;
  • Mapping the Common with the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center from the Boston Public Library;
  • Participating in the use of wooden pillories for punishments in the 17th and 18th centuries and see a demonstration by the Freedom Trail Foundation;
  • A re-enactment of the valor of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Regiment, the first regiment of African American soldiers from the North to fight in the Civil War. The students got to drill with the 54th Regiment, and learn about Civil War era equipment from the re-enactor soldiers;
  • A demonstration of New England contra dances, students learned the traditional dances;
  • Learning about Native American pottery, tool-making and flint-knapping with Boston City Archaeologist Joe Bagley;
  • Meeting sheep from Wright-Locke Farm in Winchester;
  • Learning about the long history of public protests on the Common and participating in a mini-protest of their choosing.
“It was great to see these kids extending their learning outside the classroom and experiencing our rich history and culture in tangible ways,” said Elizabeth Vizza, executive director of the Friends. “Making History on the Common works because it’s simple yet profound.”
Thank you to Mass Humanities and Motor Mart Garage for sponsoring Making History on the Common 2016.

CHARLESGATE BLOCK  Commonwealth Avenue Mall NEIGHBORS

June 15, 2016
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Dear Friends Member,
This letter is to ask for your help in determining the future of the Charlesgate block of the Commonwealth Avenue Mall.  For the past three years the Friends  have been working to improve the health and beauty of this landscape with the following:
  • Extensive work on the trees
  • Excavation of entire block to correct the soil composition and the drainage
  • Replacing and upgrading the irrigation system
  • Turf restoration.
Since the initial work we have committed to do extra ordinary maintenance in this block to ensure the turf and the trees remain healthy and strong. The Friends have invested $130,000 over three years in this block for turf restoration, tree care, and the Leif Eriksson sculpture restoration. This huge investment of time and money has improved and maintained the beauty of this block of the Mall.
Unfortunately, this considerable investment is being destroyed by the use of this block as an off-leash dog park.  Because this block is fenced it is an inviting spot for off-leash dog activity which is illegal in this park.  This usage has grown to such an extent in the past year that the majority of the investment in improvements is being wasted because we simply can’t get ahead of the damage that is being done. While we welcome dogs and dog walkers using the park properly, the current fencing exacerbates unsuitable use as an off-leash dog area. In addition, this off-leash behavior has made it difficult, if not impossible, for other people to feel welcome and safe in this area of the park.
These fences are not historic; they were installed in the 1980’s.  Removal would bring the Charlesgate block into aesthetic harmony with the rest of the Mall where the fences are on the cross streets only. About 15 years ago, then Commissioner Justine Liff removed a similar fence around the Hereford block because of the exact same problem. If you look at the Hereford block today, where the Friends has a similar program, you can see the difference.
Charlesgate can look like the Hereford block, but only if the fence is removed:
  • The Friends of the Public Garden has recommended to Parks Commissioner Cook that this fence be removed.
  • The NABB Board of Directors voted at a meeting last week to support this recommendation.
Commissioner Cook wants to hear the removal of the fence is supported by the neighborhood.  We have promised we will do our best to “take the temperature” of the abutters and supporters of the stewardship of the Mall.
We are now reaching out to get your feedback.  
A response of a simple YES or NO to removal of the fence would be welcome, additional comments would be appreciated. Please put Charlesgate in the subject line of your email.
Please respond to the Friends at info@friendsofthepublicgarden.org  or to my email mpok384@verizon.net.   Numbers will matter.
Please send your response by June 20, 2016.
Thank you,
Margaret Pokorny, Chairman, Commonwealth Avenue Mall Committee
A joint committee of Friends of the Public Garden and NABB

 

Historic Preservation and the Community Preservation Act

June 15, 2016

What is CPA and what can it do for your organization?

This November, Boston voters will have the opportunity to vote YES for the Community Preservation Act in Boston. The Community Preservation Act (CPA) will bring innumerable benefits to the City of Boston, furthering the work of preservationists and community builders alike. CPA will provide funding for preservation in amounts we’ve never seen in Boston. With the passage of CPA, the typical Boston homeowner whose home is assessed at $500,000 would pay approximately $24 per year towards this investment, and in turn, the City would generate $20 million or more every year for CPA projects including affordable housing, parks/open space, and historic preservation.

Please join the Boston Preservation Alliance and Historic Boston Incorporated, Thursday June 23rd, from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the African Meeting House to learn more. 

During our time together we will discuss how CPA money would be raised, how it would impact your neighborhood, and where the funds would go. Come and get your questions answered and brainstorm how the CPA can help your organization. At this meeting we will discuss:

  • Obtaining formal endorsements from preservation and neighborhood organizations that will be used in the support campaign for CPA
  • The elements of a campaign underway and  how you can get involved in promoting the CPA ballot initiative in your community and among your members

 This event is free and open to Organizational Members and partners of the Boston Preservation Alliance and/or Historic Boston, Inc. and any other friends of historic preservation.

This event is next week!

Please register ASAP.  
Thursday, June 23
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
African Meeting House, 46 Joy Street, Beacon Hill
Registration required.

Learn more about CPA at Yes for a Better Boston

 

 

Advocacy Alert

June 2, 2016

Your parks need your voice!

The BRA will be making a crucial decision about the proposed residential development at 171-172 Tremont Street.

This project, as it is currently proposed, will exceed  existing zoning laws protecting Boston Common from excessive shadow and wind.

Parks greatly improve the quality of city life and build community. The time is now to share your voice on their behalf.

The time is now to share your voice on their behalf.

The BRA will be making a crucial decision about the proposed residential development at 171-172 Tremont Street. As it is currently proposed, the project will exceed current protective zoning and set a harmful precedent by opening the door for more development exceeding the height limit in the mid-town area bordering Boston Common and the Public Garden.
From the 1970’s, the Friends of the Public Garden has continuously advocated for protecting the Common from excessive shadow and wind resulting from development projects that would have a damaging impact on this vital and heavily used historic urban park.
We advocate for compliance with both the 1990 Shadow Law and Boston’s zoning code’s provisions protecting the Common as well as the Public Garden.
 

Will you take 5 minutes this week to send an email to BRA Director Brian Golden?

Sample email message:
Dear Mr. Golden,
I am asking that the BRA comply with the existing laws, the 1990 Shadow Law and Boston’s zoning code’s provision protecting Boston Common and the Public Garden that limits the height of buildings in the Midtown Cultural Zone to 155′ and not approve the 171 Tremont St. project as presently proposed. (INCLUDE A SENTENCE ABOUT WHY BOSTON COMMON AND THE PUBLIC GARDEN ARE IMPORTANT TO YOU.)
Boston Common is the most heavily used greenspace in the entire city. It has served the city at-large for 382 years as a gathering place for celebrations, special events and demonstrations, but also as the neighborhood park for over 35,000 residents. I urge the BRA not to approve the additional new shadow on Boston Common the 171-172 Tremont project will incur.  A harmful precedent will be set for more buildings to exceed the height limit. Shadows negatively impact the health of the park’s trees and grass, and also significantly affect my, and other people’s enjoyment of the park.
Please let me know that you will not approve the project until it complies with existing laws protecting Boston Common.
Thank you for your consideration.
Your name
Your address

 

 

May is Membership Month

May 17, 2016

 

Friends of the Public Garden Offers Incentive to Join during Membership Month!

The Friends of the Public Garden has launched a spring membership drive with an enticing incentive to bring in new members. Anyone who joins the Friends by Wednesday, May 25th will be entered into a drawing to win Dinner for Four at Toscano.

As part of Membership Month, the Friends will host a wine and cheese reception in the Friends office at 69 Beacon Street on Wednesday, May 25th, from 5:30 to 7:00 pm.  The drawing for the Toscano prize will take place at the end of the May25th reception. Those who cannot attend the reception can also be entered into the drawing by joining online before May 25 at www.friendsofthepublicgarden.org or by mail by calling 617-723-8144 for a membership form. Membership starts at only $25. Reservations for the reception are required due to limited space. Please RSVP to 617-723-8144 or info@friendsofthepublicgarden.org.

A membership organization open to all, the Friends was founded in 1970 by concerned citizens. It works closely with the Boston Parks Department to protect and enhance Boston’s three historic parks: the Boston Common, the Public Garden, and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. For more than four decades, the Friends has funded the expert care of trees and plantings, the maintenance and restoration of sculptures and fountains, and major improvement projects like the Brewer Fountain Plaza renovation. It has been a staunch advocate to protect the parks from misuse and encroachment.  This has all been accomplished thanks to the support of the Members.

For more information about the Friends of the Public Garden visit www.friendsofthepublicgarden.org

Young Friends Happy Hour

May 12, 2016

Meet new people and enjoy an evening connecting with old friends while learning about how you can help the Friends of the Public Garden.

Stewardship of our greenspace is essential to the future of Boston. You can help the Friends with our work to preserve and enhance the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Mall.

Join us May 24, 6:00 – 9:00pm at Abby Lane, 253 Tremont Street, Boston

Light appetizers included

Register here!

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