Conservancy as convener

15, Apr, 2010 Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy

Last evening, the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway’s Leadership Council held a public meeting to discuss, among other things, proposed developments in and around the Greenway’s Chinatown Park. Linda Jonash, Greenway Conservancy Director of Planning and Design, along with representatives from the BRA and from Hudson Group, introduced the BRA’s plans for Mary Soo Hoo Park, Hudson Group North America’s 120 Kingston Street development, and the Conservancy’s efforts to add shade and seating to the park. She explained the Conservancy’s essential role as convener and coordinator for the parks’ protection and advancement. Details about each project can be found in the Work in Progress Chinatown projects presentation [pdf, ~10 mb] posted on our website.

As the designated steward of the Greenway, we are delivering on the promise of a beautiful, vibrant, innovative city park. The complexity of “the promise” is how many ways it can, and has, been interpreted. As Nancy Brennan, Executive Director recently said in a BBJ interview, “We can’t legislate but we can convene. We like everybody. We can get people to sit around a table and hear the same answer to a question once — not four different answers in four different meetings.” So we are listening; listening to the organizations proposing development, to the residents of Chinatown, to respected horticulture and maintenance professions, and to the city at large. And we are carefully considering how each improvement will impact and contribute to the whole – a better park experience.

Key criteria for us as we review Greenway capital improvements include:

  • Does it draw on the strengths of the existing park?
  • How does it improve the average Greenway park user’s experience?
  • Is it designed for flexible and evolving public use?
  • What is the maintenance and ongoing care plan?

During the meeting, Leadership Council members and public participants raised many great questions and provided valuable input in response to the presentations.  Construction details, budgets, horticulture, shade, sun and maintenance concerns were some of the many topics discussed.

While there may still be issues to resolve around the integration of development projects adjacent to Chinatown Park, it is perfectly clear that the Conservancy is rising to the challenge of its name; an organization designated to conserve and protect natural resources – in this case, a newly-formed ribbon of contemporary urban parks.