Vote by Friends of the Public Garden Board of Directors regarding Olympics
and the Boston Common and Public Garden
March 2, 2015
WHEREAS, the proposal to site a 16,000 seat beach volleyball stadium on Boston Common constitutes exclusive use of what appears to be (according to Boston 2024 documents) 3/4 of Boston Common (calculating the area inside the security fence at 32 acres). Construction timeline estimates seven months, and most likely the areas impacted would be unavailable for as long as a year including post-event restoration. Approximately 35,000 people use this as their neighborhood park, and many thousands more from every neighborhood and beyond Boston use it for various forms of recreation and civic gathering;
WHEREAS, use would reverse centuries of tradition in the spirit of Boston Common’s origins regarding public rights to use of the Common and non-privatization of public parks;
WHEREAS, use would displace organized events that occur on the Parade Ground and the area around Parkman Bandstand;
WHEREAS, security fencing would prevent use of the Frog Pond, a major recreation destination for children from the entire city of Boston;
WHEREAS, development would necessitate removal of over 50 mature trees, including elms and oaks planted in the 1930s, in just the athletic field area alone, according to the published plans;
WHEREAS, development would inflict irreparable damage that cannot be mitigated or restored to the park’s pre-event condition. New, mature trees have a poor track record of surviving planting in a heavily used public park like the Common;
WHEREAS, the Public Garden venues remove close to one quarter of the park to access by the general public;
WHEREAS, the Public Garden is a fragile botanical garden with significant trees and sculpture. This proposed use poses a clear risk of significant damage, both from the actual structures proposed as well as the thousands of people expected to flow through the Garden to the spectator entrances;
WHEREAS, the proposed facilities represent inappropriate use of Local and National Historic Landmarks;
WHEREAS, the Boston Common and Public Garden need to be showcases for the international community of visitors, and welcome people as places of respite during this busy 3-week event, not gated venues available only to ticket holders. They should be improved over the next nine years to the high standards of excellence we are advocating for them;
WHEREAS, although remediation and improvements are promised, there is no assurance that the finances of the Olympics would guarantee this.
Therefore, based on our understanding of the materials that have been made available to the community, the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Public Garden requests that Boston 2024 alter its proposal and move the Beach Volleyball event out of the Boston Common; and furthermore, that any ancillary structures proposed within the Public Garden or the Boston Common to support the Beach Volleyball event, the Marathon, and the Road Cycling events be relocated. Furthermore, we request that no Olympics-related venues or ancillary structures be sited on the Boston Common or Public Garden.