The Friends of Christopher Columbus Park have contracted for a park ranger as part of a new program for the coming season. The non-profit Friends group is funding the initiative from its own donations, without public expense.
Park Ranger Gene Survillo was introduced at the March FOCCP meeting. As a park ranger, he will act as an ambassador for the Christopher Columbus Park and look out for public safety. By walking the park, responsibilities include answering questions, identifying park features, sharing history, event information and providing directions. FOCCP has found that many park visitors are unaware of all that is going on in the park. One feature that is not always obvious is the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Rose Garden, painstakingly maintained by its Horticulture Committee.
Monitoring the park for public safety includes observing and recording activities in the park and referring recurring issues to the Boston Police Department or other appropriate agencies.
Among the safety issues, horticulture volunteers have repeatedly reported finding needle evidence related to drug activity. In addition, FOCCP continues to work with officials regarding vandalism and homeless problems. Complaints have also been voiced toward skateboarding, unleashed dogs and waste left in the park. These are a few of the areas where a park ranger could provide a more consistent response.
Christopher Columbus Park on Atlantic Avenue is a public, city park and the program has been approved by the City of Boston Parks and Recreation Department. The new program comes a year after the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy also hired two park rangers for the Greenway parks.