A hearty Friends of the Public Garden congratulations to newly-elected City Councilor, Sharon Durkan. Councilor Durkan has been an advocate for greenspace throughout her career as an organizer, and the upkeep and care of Boston’s parks are a top priority as she takes on this new role. We look forward to working with Councilor Durkan to advance important parks care issues. Read our interview with Councilor Durkan below.

What is your favorite park – the Common, Public Garden, or Mall – and why?

The Friends of the Public Garden are exceptional stewards of the Boston Common, Public Garden, and Commonwealth Avenue Mall. Given that, it is exceptionally hard to choose a favorite, but if I must, it would be the Public Garden. I was walking through the Public Garden in 2015, newly arrived in Boston. I had just taken a role on then-City Councilor Michelle Wu’s reelection, and moved here 3 days after getting the job and moved to Beacon Hill. I remember walking across the footbridge of the Public Garden and realizing I chose the right place to live, and I haven’t looked back since. 

What is your favorite park memory? 

One of my favorite park memories is actually a recent one: just a few weeks ago, I was fortunate to be able to celebrate with family, friends, and new colleagues as I was ceremonially sworn in as District 8 City Councilor in the Public Garden. The FOPG President Liz Vizza led the pledge of allegiance to kick-off the ceremony. With the weeping willows swaying, the flowers in full bloom, music all around, and, of course, the swan boats adding their stately and iconic presence in the background, the Public Garden showed up in all its beauty making a special moment that much more. 

What are some greenspace initiatives in the City of Boston that you look forward to supporting?

In my first legislative action as Councilor, I was proud to co-sponsor a hearing order to evaluate stormwater management and flood hazard mitigation, both of which parks are an essential mitigating factor in, thanks to the leadership of Councilor Breadon. In addition to new efforts, I am very excited to continue to support City efforts with a history of success including our growing tree planting/maintenance program (urban forestry division), our perennial Power Corps cohorts, and blooming initiatives around green infrastructure. Plant-based puns aside, the strength of the City’s greenspace initiatives is that they are not just dependent upon City programs. 

The Friends of the Public Garden are a leading example of the power of parks advocates in achieving equitable, accessible, and resilient green spaces across the City, but we must do more to advocate for all of our parks! I aim to nurture City partnerships with green space and park advocates, state and federal agencies, and private institutions–as just as a garden cannot be tended by water alone, so too are multiple resources required to be responsible caretakers of the City’s green spaces. By combining innovative new efforts, sustaining dependable current efforts, and making sure that all stakeholders are working together on both, I am confident that District 8’s green spaces can grow and thrive for the benefit of residents and visitors alike.