Over the past year, we have been in an ongoing conversation with both the leaders of MLK Boston and the City regarding the proposal to build a memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King on Boston Common. As part of that conversation, we gave MLK Boston background materials on the Common, including studies of its history and a survey of users, and advised them concerning the cost and practical realities of maintenance of park spaces, especially heavily used ones.

The Friends supports the creation of a memorial on the Common to these two civil rights leaders, and looks forward to continuing to work closely with both the nonprofit and the City. Placing any memorial on the Common, especially one this important, must involve the Mayor’s Office, Parks Department, Art Commission, and Landmarks Commission, in their roles of review and permitting for any additions to the Common, as they are now and have been for many years.

We want the memorial to be successful, and when completed to enhance the City’s civic landscape while promoting racial dialogue and healing. We also need this effort to enhance the Common, and seamlessly fit into a park that serves Boston as the center stage of civic life. While small in scale (48 acres), the Common is the most heavily used park in the City and the site of hundreds of permitted events as well as the destination of millions of visitors from the neighborhood to the nation and beyond.

The City is about to embark on a comprehensive Master Plan for the Common with a robust public process, to lay out a vision for the future of this park and a plan for major investments that will serve its many users and uses, and bring it up to the highest standards of excellence. It is imperative that planning for the MLK Memorial be integrated into the master planning process.

We are committed to this project’s success, and are continuing to work with all involved to ensure that. We encourage you to send any thoughts you may have about the initiative and the five proposals to Chris Cook, Parks Commissioner at christopher.cook@boston.gov.

To view the proposed designs for this project, click here.