The Friends of the North End Parks (FOTNEP) issued the following news release today citing a potential cost savings opportunity for the State’s transportation department, MassDOT, by volunteering to partner with the largely taxpayer funded Greenway Conservancy to support and improve the horticulture on the North End Parks.

Community Friends Group Seeks Greenway Approval on Cost Saving Measures

Despite several attempts to partner with the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy (Conservancy) to upgrade the horticulture on Parcels 8 and 10 at the North End of The Greenway, Friends of the North End Parks (FOTNEP), a non-profit community organization, today announced that they will continue to make attempts to partner with The Conservancy.

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FOTNEP is hopeful that elected officials and the public will encourage the acting Executive Director or new Executive Director to sign off on FOTNEP’s plan that will allow FOTNEP to plant beautiful gardens for enjoyment in 2013, at no cost to the Conservancy.

A step in the partnership came when over 100 North End residents and other volunteers came together to plant 10,000 daffodil bulbs that were donated by FOTNEP to The Greenway in early November. Additional daffodils were planted by FOTNEP along Cross Street, on Greenway parcels 5 and 6, at The Nazzaro Center and at Paul Revere Park, The Prado.

“We look forward to watching a spectacular burst of Spring color when these daffodils bloom, and are eager to improve the planting beds with beautiful flowers and plants, enhancing the well-loved lawns, fountains and pergola in The North End Parks,” said Nate Swain, FOTNEP President.

FOTNEP members feel that they have been met with delays, resistance and unwillingness to collaborate by the Conservancy on the overall FOTNEP plan. The group has proposed a plan to replace the current planting beds which are diseased and damaged with vibrant new year-round plantings at no cost to The Conservancy. After six months and dozens of communications including nine face to face meetings, The Conservancy has yet to sign off on FOTNEP’s plan to replace the failed planting beds. This plan was dependent on FOTNEP’s exclusive access to thousands of perennial plants which could have been acquired at a considerable savings. Based on recent acknowledgements The Conservancy’s current horticultural planning and spending does not include any additional plants for The North End parcels.

“FOTNEP wants to partner with the Conservancy and build upon our horticultural contributions this past Fall.” said FOTNEP Secretary David Kubiak. “It has been disappointing to have the Conservancy ignore FOTNEP, and our offer of donated beautification efforts. The North End/Waterfront community supports our efforts.”

The FOTNEP offer comes at a time when the Conservancy is under fire for its State DOT funding and is searching for a replacement for Executive Director Nancy Brennan who recently left for a position in San Francisco.

The Conservancy’s spending and actions show their priorities do not include the improvement and maintenance of the horticulture gardens and North End Parks. “The North End deserves truly beautiful parks year-round” said FOTNEP Treasurer Diane Hauser.

As disclosed in the Conservancy’s 2011 financial statements, $33,000 was spent on a video, $240,000+ on plans with an outside architect, and $2.2M in salaries, including $650,000 on executive salaries. By contrast $50,000 was spent on horticulture, a mere 1 percent of its annual $4+ M budget.

“The Conservancy derives $2M of its budget from taxpayers. At a time of tight budgets across the State, The Conservancy owes it to every citizen to spend money responsibly. We have offered a simple community-based solution to create year-round beautiful gardens that will remedy the diseased and damaged plants at a tremendous cost savings. Our efforts will greatly improve the appearance and health of the planting beds in The North End Parks” said Michele Brogan, FOTNEP Vice President. Our goal is to eliminate the delays, obstacles, and oppositions and move forward with an immediate plan to start the plantings.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Matt,
    Thanks for bringing this important information public.
    I personally, hope that the North End Residents will support Fotnep in their efforts to provide year round horticultural interest to Parcels 8 &10.

    I walk through these areas on my way to Hay Market and
    feel the full impact of Winter. There is nothing along the way to brighten the experience. The “HOLIDAY ” addition of 3 disco balls per Pergola is a far cry from the spectacular lights at Christopher Columbus Park. A gift to the community from a Friends Group.

    Friends Groups should be a welcome addition to any community. Why is the Conservancy reluctant to accept the free horticultural gift that FOTNEP has offered since May?

    Providing beauty and making a difference to our neighborhood shouldn’t be so difficult. As a resident and taxpayer, I don’t get it. Barren lifeless landscape versus year round horticulture interest and vibrancy, at no cost.

    Whats the issue?
    Michele Brogan
    FOTNEP Vice President

  2. “A step in the partnership came when over 100 North End residents and other volunteers came together to plant 10,000 daffodil bulbs that were donated by FOTNEP to The Greenway in early November. Additional daffodils were planted by FOTNEP along Cross Street, on Greenway parcels 5 and 6, at The Nazzaro Center and at Paul Revere Park, The Prado.”

    Not true: Many of those bulbs were donated by the Mayor – not FOTNEP. Credit where it’s due, please.

  3. Actually, it is true that FOTNEP purchased and planted 10,000 daffodil bulbs and 500 crocus bulbs in the North End Parks of the Greenway (Parcels 8 and 10) and in other neighborhood parks. FOTNEP is grateful to various North End/Waterfront donors who made the bulbs purchase possible, especially the Mendoza family. Separately, an additional 3,000 bulbs were provided by the City and planted through a collaborative effort of the North End Beautification Committee and FOTNEP. I suspect “SBW” was not involed, but FOTNEP hopes he or she will become involved and join our efforts.

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