Greenway Update: Beautiful Horticulture (Just Not in North End) and Non-Public Open Meetings [Video]

Video: General Greenway Update – Board of Directors Meeting on January 29, 2013. The video shown is the third and final part of this board meeting. View the first part on Governance Revisions and/or second part on Carousel Contracts.

00:00 Acting Executive Director Jesse Brackenbury gives an update on the Winter Lights program and a results from a recent horticulture study by a Harvard Kennedy School team on the Greenway.

07:00 Stu Shillaber, Superintendent of Horticulture on the Greenway, gives a virtual tour of the Wharf District Parks in winter. Shillaber points out the Conservancy’s philosophy of not cutting back plants in winter to keep more winter ground cover and interest. He contrasts the Conservancy’s approach to that taken at Parcel 13, the Armenian Heritage Memorial Park where the plants were cut back for the winter.

Editor’s Notes – As a longtime follower of these issues and a North End resident, there are several concerning points to be made about what happened at this Board meeting.

(1) Sour Grapes – The odd and inappropriate criticism of the Armenian Heritage Park sounded a lot like sour grapes about the contract loss by the Conservancy to maintain that parcel. (Watch this at 10:15 in the video.)

(2) Insults by Omission

  • The bragging horticulture focus of the “favorite child” Wharf District Parks must raise the ire of residents and businesses in other neighborhoods where the horticulture is blighted, by the Conservancy’s own admission. A Friends Group, FOTNEP, has been actively trying to get the Conservancy’s attention by volunteering their horticultural services in the North End. Recently, we learned that FOTNEP’s volunteers have been turned away by the Conservancy. There will be more to come of this situation as this group of determined park people is not likely to give up the effort.
  • Another “insult by omission” was the glorious reviews of the Winter Lights program, except in the North End where it has been an unmitigated disaster. (Also, see the Poll where just about anything was preferred versus the disco lights selected by the Conservancy.)

(3) Open but not Public – It cannot go without mention how Chair Georgia Murray and the Conservancy’s Board continue to use every trick in the book to avoid responding to public input. Despite recently passed legislation that adds “Open Meeting” requirements to the Conservancy’s meetings, Ms. Murray announced that the public would not be allowed to speak or ask questions at any point during the meeting! The Conservancy seems to forget these are public parks and ultimately they are responsible to the public. See what happens when someone tries to ask a question at 21:45 in the video.

2 Replies to “Greenway Update: Beautiful Horticulture (Just Not in North End) and Non-Public Open Meetings [Video]

  1. You do us all a great favor, Matt, by pointing out the sins of omission and commission by the Greenway Conservancy. I’m constantly shocked by how little integrity those people have–and how little they have learned about PR from the example of Nancy Brennan’s having been run out of town.

    Nicole Rafter

  2. As a resident of the North End I wish to thank Matt for keeping us informed on issues affecting the North End.
    The parks are PUBLIC if the greenway conservancy is of the mind to run as a dictatorship with no input from the PUBLIC they should be disbanded.Our elected officials need to look into the legality of these non-public open meetings. The PUBLIC must have a voice that can be heard

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