The park system in Massachusetts would be lucky to have more donors as eager as Semyon and Rufina Rudyak of Brookline. As a tribute to their son, a prominent Russian developer who died three years ago, the couple are proposing to spend $1 million on expanding access to Hammond Pond in Newton, where he liked to fish when visiting his parents. The couple’s determination to improve a spot that he loved is praiseworthy. Still, any memorial should be in harmony with the circumstances of Hammond Pond, and ensuring this will require a little patience on everyone’s part.
The details of the project have provoked some resistance: The Rudyaks want to build a floating walkway around the shoreline of the pond, which is under the supervision of the state Department of Conservation and Recreation and is inaccessible in most places. But some local environmentalists object to the appearance of the proposed plastic walkways and argue that the pond should be cleaned up before being opened to more foot traffic.
The Rudyaks say their project could be underway in weeks, and they express frustration with a process that they view as bureaucracy. But a significant project in a public space has to reflect more than one family’s vision. Surely the Rudyaks, the state, and local residents can work together on a project that will add to the allure of Hammond Pond — and last for many years to come.