It takes commitment to make Boston’s parks world class

June 14, 2011

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IN “PAYING for the parks on Greenway’’ (Op-ed, June 10), Paul McMorrow laid out the funding history of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. Increased property values near the Greenway have led to increased taxes, which go to the city’s general fund but do not benefit the Greenway’s maintenance and programming.

The Boston park system as a whole, not only the Greenway, has been underfunded for generations. Improved management by the Boston Parks Department has averted a citywide park crisis such as the Greenway is facing.

Privately funded efforts have approached the issue of supporting the parks in various ways. For more than 40 years, the Friends of the Public Garden, on whose board I serve, has used advocacy and public education as well as supplementary funding, particularly for the care of trees and sculpture.

The Emerald Necklace Conservancy has raised money from well-attended events for specific restoration projects, most recently turning an abandoned gatehouse in the Fenway into an office and visitors center.

How can Boston’s parks be funded so as to serve all neighborhoods equitably, accounting for the extra wear and tear given to certain parks? Besides residents, many thousands of people work in Boston or visit to spend money enjoying our cultural attractions. We aspire to be a world-class city. Let’s come together to figure out how to make our parks attain that standard.

Eugenie Beal, Boston