Announcing a New Greenway Park Group: Friends of the North End Parks

At this week’s meeting of the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, North End resident and artist Nathan Swain announced the formation of a new parks group within the Greenway called “Friends of the North End Parks.” The organization is targeting Greenway Parcels 8 & 10 with a mission “To beautify and care for the North End parks within the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway.” The Friends explain this vision as “moving from highway plantings to world-class gardens.” Swain also told, “We just want to make the parks more beautiful and have some shade from the sun.”

Nate Swain is President of FOTNEP. Other inaugural officers include Vice-President Michele Brogan, Treasurer Diane Mustone Hauser and Secretary David Kubiak.

The new Friends group intends to collaborate with the Greenway Conservancy to “transform the parks.” At the meeting, Conservancy Executive Director Nancy Brennan said that she has already met with the group and looks forward to working further with them at their next meeting. In a letter distributed to meeting attendees, the group said they have also met with Mayor Menino and top horticulturists, including Adrian Bloom. Read the full letter (pdf).

FOTNEP is  building its membership by distributing membership brochures. The mailing address and contact is David Kubiak, Secretary, Friends of The North End Parks, P.O. Box 130048, Boston, MA 02113.

The FOTNEP membership brochure is shown below and available here as a pdf.

6 Replies to “Announcing a New Greenway Park Group: Friends of the North End Parks

  1. Where were these people when the NEW Central Artery committee were working with the Greenway Conservancy to design the park?
    The Friends of the Christopher Columbus Park was formed by a group of people who were intimately involved from the beginning in the design process when that park was redone. The horticultural committee maintains the existing Rose Garden and flower beds and does not redesign the main elements of the park. They raise money to maintain the tot lot and put up the trelliss lights and other Christmas Decorations and host communtiy events in the park like the July 4th celebration this year. FOCCP raises a significant amount of money to help maintain the park and do these little extras for the neighborhood and the city of Boston.

    My fear is that Mr Swain is looking for yet another canvas for his art and his vision of what the park should be. I certainly hope that this group has community meetings to discuss whatever ideas they come up with before they present to the Conservancy FOR APPROVAL The last thing these parks need are fake vines on canvas covering the trellis and plantings of glass flowers to replace the historically correct colonial garden.

  2. Joyce Stephens’ fears are unfounded. The Friends of the North End Parks became a dues paying member of the Friends of the Christopher Columbus Park as one of its first official outreach acts. Many FOTNEP members and longtime North End residents are already FCCP members, as well as having served on original design committees and planning sessions for the Greenway. It is now time to ‘collectively’ and ‘voluntarily’ invest in the horticulture and beautification plans long promised the residents of the North End. Adrian Bloom, an internationally known horticulturalist, is but one of a growing list of supporters and hardworking local North End resident-talents willing to elevate the North End highway parcels from the sterile construction of the old Mass highway department into garden parcels we all may be proud. Let’s be open minded and supportive. Thank you.

    1. Becoming a member of FOCCP means nothing. You missed my points which is…
      1. Where were the founders of this group when The North/End Waterfront Central Artery Committee held community meetings with the Greenway Conservancy and the landscape architects in designing these parks years ago? Now because it offends Nate’s artistic sensibilities and fosters whatever other personal agenda the other founders have, you think nobody else in the neighborhood should be concerned about what will be done?
      2. Who is going to pay for the design andplants and planting of the Monet’s Garden these people think we should have? MA taxpayers have already paid for the design and development of the parks.
      3. The FOCCP protects the existing park and pays for extras like the trellis lights and other holiday decorations, works with the parks department on maintenance issues, maintains the EXISTING rose garden and plants the existing flower beds. It has NEVER took it upon itself to say…this park is not my idea of beautiful plantings and landscape design so screw the Boston Parks dept, we are going to design it ourselves even though we are a volunteer friends group and not the owners of the park.

      Although Matt has allowed anoymous postings, I will not take the word of someone who does not have the backbone to use there real name on something that concerns plantings in a park.

      1. Joyce, thank you for your note and reply:

        The Friends of the Christopher Columbus Park (FOCCP) are to be applauded; fantastic ONGOING park creation, maintenance, and cohesive working relationship with ‘the Parks Department’, i.e. the CITY OF BOSTON and Mayor Mennino. Toward your points, FOCCP, and the state of the RK Greenway, extant… this is where the ‘screw’ job (re: Parks Dept/FOCCP?)comes in (your comment, not mine).

        1) Many NORTH END residents of the newly created FOTNEP (Friends of the North End Parks) served the interests of the North End ON THE COMMITTEES, and through all the political machinations of ‘greenway’ creation and consultative design change, and EARNED THEIR STRIPES to continue the dialogue AND change, that which is inherent in today’s conversation (one NOT about FOCCP). To the point, said one ‘committee participant’ of yesteryear, or back in the day: “My girlfriends and I would lay awake at 3 in the morning on a Spring night, at each other’s homes, listening to the traffic on the expresssway; we couldn’t sleep”. The latter SERVED ON ALL COMMITTEES!

        2) FOTNEP is a SELF SUSTAINING entity, we hope to improve, beautify, and urge exquisite horticulture (shade) and sustainability with our own funding, skill-sets, creativity, and ability to work with others. It began, THIS course of action, with meetings with RKG Conservancy Executive Director Nancy Brennan as well as Conservancy Horticulturist Linda Norash. ALL seem to be open-minded. Consider joining…

        3) FOTNEP hopes to provide all funding and volunteer labor/horticultural insight from within AND neighborhood support. Since 2007, upon the creation of the RKG Conservancy as a non-profit, though partially STATE FUNDED 501(c)(3), politically appointed entity, 30+ members of its management team has benefited from a salaried remuneration of approximately $11 million. In 2010 approximately $52,000 was spent on ‘organics’, i.e. plants: flowers/bushes/trees.

        Let me leave you with this thought, from a national writer, attributed here, to be acknowledged in a second addition to his national publication, to be published soon, to wit:

        Thomas Lewis, author of “Divided Highways” will be publishing a new version this Spring.

        He added a comment regarding The Greenway:

        “The thirty acres where the Central Artery once stood became contested ground for planners and developers. In the end the swath of land became a wide urban park named the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Too wide for most, the Greenway seems more a fancy median strip flanked by four-lane boulevards than a vibrant urban space seamlessly linking the center city with the North End and harbor. Sadly, urban planners have replicated on land what highway planners had created in the Central Artery a half century earlier–a structure that separates on ground level what formerly took place in the sky. The Greenway is an undefined, inorganic space, that seems more an afterthought to the heroic engineering feats below, than an intelligent,planned urban space. Panels of grass, a few mediocre and unengaging sculptures, and lines of scraggy trees do little to attract the critical mass of people necessary to make the Greenway work. Without the density and activity so necessary to successful cities, the land still divides. Still,over time, perhaps density will come at the Greenway’s edges in the form of small commercial spaces, the sculpture will change, the trees and plantings will mature, and people will gather there. Perhaps. But in a city that boasts one of the great urban parks in the world, Frederick Law Olmsted’s Emerald Necklace, the Rose Kennedy Greenway seems a pathetic gesture.

        Joyce, I hope you will take the time to attend a next meeting of FOTNEP, participate in the dialogue (contiguous with your wonderful support of FOCCP), and help FOTNEP create multiple urban gardens and a tranquility of space amidst the din, that is the rooftop tunnel of the O’Neil Highway… and deserving of flora and shade at the least.

        Thanks for your help and support, Best regards, Ken

          1. Joyce,

            When impaneled, we may only hope you weren’t as closed minded. We’re talking plants here, not your ego. Be well.

            Stop by if you may…


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