The celebration begins! The Friends kicked off their 50th Anniversary year on the morning of Tuesday, January 14. Park advocates, Friends members, and city officials alike gathered for a celebratory breakfast and the unveiling of plans for transformative projects in all of Boston’s historic parks – the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall.

Board Chair Leslie Adam launched the presentation by announcing the recently signed Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Boston (link to Globe press release). A landmark document, the MOU signifies the beginning of a formal partnership with the City, the first of its kind between the Friends and the City. Boston Parks Commissioner Ryan Woods thanked the Friends for their unparalleled advocacy, care, and preservation of the parks. “These parks would not look the way they do today if it weren’t for the Friends,” said Woods.

Executive Director Liz Vizza thanked members, advocates, and officials for their support over the past 50 years, outlining the evolution of the three parks since the Friends inception in 1970. Vizza also unveiled exciting, transformative projects in all of the three parks, from Capital Projects like the Arlington Street Entrance & Fountains Restoration Project and the Commonwealth Avenue Mall Statue Lighting and Landscape Improvements project. The Friends has begun raising funds for these important projects, which will cost a total of $4 million. Also, there will Community Engagement Initiatives including the upcoming BioBlitz launch and a temporary Public Art Installation on Boston Common. The Shaw 54th Regiment restoration project will begin this spring and extend into the fall. Be sure to check out the Hoverlay (link) augmented reality app created so the public can enjoy the Shaw 54th Memorial while the restoration project is underway.

To make a donation to our 50th Anniversary projects, or to become a Member of the Friends, click here.