Alliance of Boston Neighborhoods organizer Shirley Kressel says in a Boston Globe op-ed that the group has filed a bill that would tap the state budget to the tune of $5.5 million a year to run the 10-acre park. By way of comparison, Kressel points out, the city of Bostonspends $15 million on its 2,200 acres of parkland.
So much for running our city like a business.
The lease drawn up by the Greenway Conservancy would give the group rights similar to private ownership, including the power to determine what events are held in the parks and the right to charge admittance to events. In short, Kressel says, the Conservancy is seeking public funding to run a privately controlled park.
The $15 million the city spends pays for gems like Franklin Park, the Boston Common, the Public Gardens and Jamaica Pond – spaces where residents of all Boston neighborhoods can play ball, sunbathe, sail, swim, listen to concerts, see plays, fly a kite, protest the war in Iraq, rally in support of a presidential candidate or meet friends for lunch. Freedom of assembly, free speech, the pursuit of happiness — this is what public spaces in the United States are for.
Businesses are best suited to run enterprises that earn profit. Let the stewardship of publicly-owned land remain under the control of our local government.