Roslindale parents say their neighborhood is at the bottom of the playground heap

Playground density in Roslindale and Jamaica Plain

A group of parents in Roslindale say they're tired of watching playgrounds in other neighborhoods get upgraded while the only two in their neighborhood languish.

The parents have started organizing to get improvements to the Fallon and Healy Field playgrounds, such as water spray decks, if not to create more playground space in the neighborhood, especially in the "play desert" south of Roslindale Square.

Roslindale is currently facing at least our tenth consecutive city budget which does not include a single capital project for Roslindale playgrounds.

The parents are also pitching playground improvements as a way of helping local businesses - with more and better playgrounds, parents would be more likely to end visits with trips to local stores, rather than patronizing the stores nearby playgrounds in other neighborhoods and towns.

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Roslindale's playground shortage1.92 MB

Comments

Fallonn? Really

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and you live in Roslindale......

It must suck

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Being an out of town yuppie Prius driver. You fit in Roslindale like OJs glove.

I do, actually

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Most of my neighbors are not natives, either. It's one of the great things about Roslindale - you're not looked down on just because your grandparents didn't live here.

Must really suck to be somebody like you who pines for the days when the Square was a crime-ridden wasteland with a big hole in the middle. Well, if you really lived in Roslindale, which I doubt.

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Well, all those yards in

Well, all those yards in Roslindale don't count?

On a serious note, it's interesting that the report doesn't include a field on Hyde Park Avenue between Cummings Highway and Walk Hill Street. If I recall, it's been redone within the past 15 years or so. Unless that's JP?

Pagel Playground

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Yes, Pagel Playground did receive a new astroturf field fairly recently, but as far as I can it does not actually have any play equipment. The open space plan does not list it as having a "Children's Playlot", and nothing in the last 10 city budgets indicates that they've added one. I'll be happy to update the graphics if I'm wrong.

Possibly....

... there _used_ to be one there -- and it was removed when Pagel was redone? I'll keep an eye out.

Oh, yeah, Dale Street

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A) Yeah, "rudimentary" is a good word for it and

B) For some reason that I'm sure made excellent sense at one time, that's actually owned and maintained by the DCR.

Maintained....

... might be a bit of an over-statement.

There was some talk years ago about this possibly being transfered to city ownership. but I guess it never happened.

Dale Street?

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Do you mean Weider Park? I think that's actually owned by the city - it's in Hyde Park's open space plan.

If it's now owned by the city...

... it was finally transferred from DCR. Last time I checked with Rep. Scaccia (several years ago, admittedly), it had not yet happened. BTW -- no one I know has EVER called this park Weider Park. ;~}

While this may have been part of Hyde Park once upon a time, I think it is now officially in Roslindale (I think park neighbors have Roslindale addresses). Perhaps its right on the border.

Pretty sure DCR

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And just over the line in Hyde Park (the boundary stone is one block away, which is another UHub thing from a while back.)

I used to run into the DCR maintenance guy at the park from time to time while running weekday mornings. Friendly guy, and he played classical music in his truck. Admittedly, that was 2 or so years ago, but my guess is that DCR still has control.

They seem to have a point.

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Then again - just about every neighborhood does. The city has decimated the parks department budget over the years because they know that people will step up and fund their neighborhood parks, freeing money to go elsewhere. It's basically an indirect tax.

Can't speak for Walsh, but under the Menino administration there was virtually no public maintenance of the Clarendon Street playground except when the mayor planned a visit - then they come over and sweep and mulch etc.

Not blaming the Parks Dept - have said for a long time they do amazing work on about the shortest budgets imaginable.

Again though - if you get more - somebody else gets less. Not asking for anything in our 'hood - we long ago just decided to pretty much do it ourselves except for emptying the trash. The question is - if we give Roslindale more - who gets less?

BTW - the City Council is scheduled to give Mr. Rosenthal a $5 million tax break tomorrow for his Fenway project. If you need money for the parks - maybe you should come testify against yet another nonsensical tax break. Not complaining about the project - but he doesn't need $5 million of our money to make it happen either.

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The short budget

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Yes, the budget is short. Even within those constraints, it looks like Roslindale is getting the short end of the stick. The point isn't that we want any other particular neighborhood to get less, it's just that if the city is going to provide any money for playgrounds at all, it would be nice if they didn't leave one neighborhood out entirely for ten consecutive budgets.

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Coming tomorrow?

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Will I see you at the City Council meeting?

Not gonna argue with you on this one. You're right. But if we spend that money in Rozzie - it means it doesn't get spent elsewhere - like it or not - it's a zero sum game unless...

Tomorrow's a chance to do something about it. Tell the Council to vote no on Rosenthal's completely fabricated story that he needs a 1% tax break on his project (spread over 6 years) or he's going to walk.

$5 million isn't a lot of money in the scheme of things - but it can build a really nice playground or two.

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Tomorrow

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No, I won't be there. Having a full time job outside the city makes getting to council meetings tough, and if I were to take time off to go to any it would probably be BPS budget hearings. I also don't really know all the details of these tax breaks, although I agree that on the surface they sure do seem like a bad deal for the city. Too bad - it would be fun to meet you, and I mean that sincerely.

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Misinformation

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Apparently I got incorrect info from City Hall (Imagine!!!) - the Council wasn't voting or hearing this today. Just "accepting notice from the mayor". It has been assigned to committee and will come up for hearing probably in the next few weeks.

Always happy to have a discussion with you out here. I very much appreciate your factual style and attention to detail.

As you've probably heard - apparently the operating budget and school budget have been miraculously balanced, few if any layoffs - some attrition. External funds may have been a bit harsher - but as we've discussed - most of that money was long scheduled to disappear. No surprises - it's the same almost every year - the sky is falling, then its not. But have to say the communications this year were much more clumsy than usual.

First year jitters perhaps.

My 8 cents on Roslindale Playgrounds

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Which I am supportive of, but I also support good argument.

First, comparing Roslindale to Jamaica Plain graphically is misleading. Most of the "parks" are a part of the Southwest Corridor. Therefore, the entire Orange Line is a park.

Second, why isn't the Conley School playground counted. I know it is open to the public, excepting of course when school is in session. It's a decent play area.

Third, where they need a play area is around Beech Street. That's the true gap area (and no, I don't live near Beech, but rather close to another spot the group wants to develop a park, which is a great bit of city maintained open space.)

Fourth, if Roslindale is a desert, what is West Roxbury? I can get to Fallon, Dale Street (yes, Michael, I was there with the toddler on Sunday, and it serves it's purpose well) and Healy Field easily on foot from the desert lands (according to the map,) but it does seem like at some points in West Roxbury it's a hike to a park.

I wish them well, but things are not horrible out Rozzie way.

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That park has had its ups and downs...

... over the years we've lived nearby. Since our kids are no longer "kids" -- I only see it at a distance.

But one should note -- most houses in Roslindale and West Roxbury do have actual yards, which might explain why public playgrounds might be more scattered than in other (basically yard-less) parts of Boston.

Most surprising thing about Dale Street Park (for me)

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Those tennis courts get used.

In my younger days, I knew kids who used the courts for street hockey. Now that the park is on my running paths (the only reason I think about them) I see those courts used a lot. Not as much as say the courts on Truman Parkway, but as the park is essentially a hidden gem, a lot.

Also, what about the urban wild attached to the park. I cannot wait until Waquiot Jr. is old enough to go exploring there.

The urban wild next to Dale Street Park

Wear thick shoes. The first time I started to visit I stepped on a nail (which went right through the sole of my shoe). The next time I fared better -- but the nice hill/rise in this wild spot was covered with broken glass (due to innumerable beer parties, I presume). Haven't been back to check for improvements for several years.

I wish they had a badminton court (I'm too slow for tennis). ;~}

Some responses

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  1. Most of the parks on the JP map are actually maintained by the city. There are a couple of DCR parks on there, but I believe it is only 4 out of 15 or so (I can double check). In any case, if the DCR is maintaining playgrounds in Boston that's still a benefit to the local neighborhood that Roslindale doesn't enjoy.
  2. We didn't include school playgrounds in any of our graphics or data, and yes, there are a couple of schools in Roslindale's "play desert" - the Conley and the Bates. If you want to quibble with that decision, that's fine, but the reality is that families with small children should have play areas available during the school day.
  3. Yes, the true need for a play area is south of the square. The city owns very, very little property down there.
  4. West Roxbury also has a bit of a playground shortage. They've done marginally better getting playground projects funded than Roslindale has in the recent past. I don't think they're particularly worse off than some parts of Roslindale are.
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Here's the problem

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Despite what Stevil says, there is money, but as you even note, there's no space. Poplar Street is an interesting choice, but it's not that big- the size of the 2 triple deckers next to it. The capital cost of construction is not a big deal in terms of the overall city budget, but there's just no land. Were someone to say that there's a large enough lot somewhere that is not contaminated that the city can get for a song, sure, but I cannot think of one.

Beech street was the answer, but as reconstruction is done, that ship has sailed. The schools in the area have newer playgrounds, and yes, before 4 PM you wouldn't be welcomed, but they give places for kids to play.

The big issue I have with the presentation is that things are skewed. As Kaz notes, Allston-Brighton doesn't really have good playgrounds, but your stats make it look like they have all sorts of amenities. As I note, take the Southwest Corridor parks out and JP still looks good, but not as overflowing as the map makes it.

The weirdest part is that I have a kid, so I should and to an extent am supportive of the effort, but I also know that even though I am just outside of the playground having zone, I know that Dale Street and Fallon make for a good walk and that Healy Field just got its pool rehabbed.

Good luck, though.

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Skew

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Well, if there's skew it's unintentional. We came at this knowing that Roslindale doesn't have many playgrounds and that they haven't had any upgrades recently. We thought it would be interesting to get a city-wide view on playground distribution and budgets. I haven't been to a huge number of the city's playgrounds (there are over 150 of them), so no, there's not much in the way of a qualitative analysis. The only things we really know about the A-B playgrounds are where they are, which have water features, and when several of them were last renovated. For the record, at least 7 A-B playgrounds - Hardiman, Hooker/Sorrento, Joyce, McKinney, Penniman, Ringer, and Shubow - have been renovated since the last renovation in Roslindale. I can't speak to the quality of those renovations, the size of the playgrounds, or anything like that, though. As I said, if there's skew it's unintentional.

As for the inclusion of the DCR parks, I believe that the city-wide map in the report does include DCR water features but not any other DCR playgrounds, so if you look at that map and remove the blue circle at Stony Brook you can get a pretty good idea of what JP looks like without the DCR parks in it. Still, the DCR parks are serving the city's play needs, so I think it's debatable whether they really should be removed entirely.

Billings Field just got

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Billings Field just got completely re-done with a tot lot and it's about to re-open.

I think it re-opened this weekend

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Looks kind of cool. And that's a few years after the other West Roxbury playground, up on VFW Parkway (whose name I should know, except back in the day we just called it "Old Big Park") got redone as well.

You mean Hynes Field I

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You mean Hynes Field I believe. Also don't forget Millennium Park is the largest in the city and also has a playground.

JP Does have more playgrounds

I lived in JP and now in Roslindale and I am totally positive there are way, way more playgrounds in JP than there are in Roslindale. No doubt about this. I know you are counting the Southwest corridor as a huge park, but if you notice, every three blocks there is a playground along it. Just walk from Forest Hills to Green and you will see 5 playgrounds (without counting schools), all for different ages and all equipped with different types of toys.

As for counting a school playground in, I don't think its fair, because as you mention it is not available during school hours!! If you have a toddler that is not in daycare, you will understand that these ARE the hours when you most need a playground!

Yes, comparing Roslindale's situation with another who is worse is not an excuse for it not being true and it not needing the parks! Sure, we can compare West Roxbury with Dedham and trust me... you will find that WR will look like the king of parks there.

West Roxbury no king of parks

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At least if you look at their map. If you lived at LaGrange and the Parkway, you are DISTANT to any playground. As far as Dedham goes, the more built up parts might have good playgrounds, but west of Washington Street most likely nothing.

One of the problems Roslindale and West Roxbury face is that they have, or at least had, a lot of open space when the playground movement was raging. A place like the North End or East Boston had no spaces for kids to play, so dedicated space was needed. Now there is a movement to playgrounds (and I am guessing away from the back yard) and there is no place to develop.

Again, as the father of a toddler (admittedly one in daycare) I know the need for spaces to play. As I note, if something was added up by Beech Street, Roslindale would be well covered. As it stands, I would take the 15 minute walk (with junior in the stroller) to Dale Street for the swings and open space with no problem, and it's less than 15 minutes to Fallon. I've never taken him to Healy Field, which is odd as it is the closest playground to my house according to the map and was my park as a child. For half the days in the year, including all of July and August, the Conley is available sunup to sundown, so we are set. If exercise is the goal, perhaps parents should start getting the legwork in.

It's funny how time changes

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It's funny how time changes things. Growing up in JP in the 70's & 80's we didin't have much ...West Roxbury always seemed to get everything!

I thinkk play grounds are a great idea and all communities should have decent ones but alas it doesn't seem the budget always for it.

Boo-hoo

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Let's see a map of Allston-Brighton's "playgrounds".

Yah. Cry me a river, Rozzy.

Allston-Brighton

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There's data on every neighborhood in the report. I can't speak to the quality of Allston-Brighton's playgrounds, but just going by the numbers and maps Allston-Brighton has more playgrounds spread out over more of the neighborhood, and has had more capital projects for their playgrounds funded recently. I can make an Allston-Brighton map if you'd like, but there's a city-wide one in the report.

There are other reports too

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Like the city's per neighborhood reports: http://www.cityofboston.gov/parks/openspace0814.asp#neighborhoods

http://www.cityofboston.gov/parks/pdfs/OSP2010/OSP0814_7.2.1_AllstonBrig...
http://www.cityofboston.gov/parks/pdfs/OSP2010/OSP0814_7.2.11_Roslindale...

But those reports point out that Roslindale has nearly twice the acreage per 1000 people than the city average. A-B has about 75% compared to the average neighborhood when looking at open space size versus density. Your map uses a single radius circle, no matter the actual size of the park or the population density of the neighborhood around it. Some of the "parks" in A-B are smaller than the house lots next to them. Meanwhile, some of the Roslindale parks occupy 10-25% of the circle you've drawn on them.

I'm not going to say Roslindale isn't in need, but I'm unimpressed by the presentation of the data. I feel like there are a lot of valid counter-arguments that aren't addressed. For example, every house (no, not literally) in Roslindale could probably have a pool in their backyard (and afford to) if they wanted it. Not so much in, say, Brighton.

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Open space vs. play space

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Yes, Roslindale has a lot of open space around the edge of the neighborhood, no question, but it's almost entirely passive areas. The whole point here is that the neighborhood has very few play spaces. I'm sure every neighborhood has its own strengths and weakness, and that's the whole point of the open space plans - they evaluate both successes and needs. If you think A-B is missing out in some way by all means you should go make your case to the city. If you have the skills to make a better map, your argument will probably be more compelling than mine, even. I'm just a guy who went through the trouble of finding the latitude and longitude of every playground run by the parks department and who knows enough JavaScript to draw some circles with the Google Maps API. I'd love to put all sorts of other things on my map. For example, physical barriers like railroad tracks and major roads that decrease walkability. I just don't have unlimited time or skills.

We did try to take density into account in some of our graphics. For example, the very first bar chart in the report lists number of playgrounds per 1000 children in each neighborhood. It's not perfect, but it is something.

As to your point about backyards and residents' abilities to build things like playgrounds and pools, I don't completely disagree. We're not trying to argue that Roslindale should have as many playgrounds as, say, Dorchester, which is more densely populated, has tons of young kids, and is not as well off as the southwestern neighborhoods. But we think the data we have, even with its limitations, still makes a pretty compelling case that Roslindale could stand a little bit more attention than it gets.

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Roslindale

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Is our shared city councilor part of the issue here?

I definitely agree that some attention to our play spaces is overdue, but there are other ways we get overlooked, i.e. there's never been talk of lowering the price of the commuter rail pass the same way they did for the Fairmount line. How is it fair that of the 3 Boston neighborhoods without subway service, only 1 gets reduced rates for the commuter rail that runs through it?

The argument that we have yards so we don't need playgrounds or that the median income is higher so we can afford the higher priced commuter rail passes (or we don't have the development needs/opportunities like the Fairmount line or that we lots of bus routes or whatever the argument would be against lowering it for Ros/West Rox.) are just excuses.

We should be used to it by now.

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Stop trolling and take the bus

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I've gone over your issue before. You pay a premium for a quicker, less congested ride. It's a 15 minute walk from the Square to Forest Hills, and a bus-Orange Line ride from the Square to Back Bay can be done at rush hour in a half hour, 40 minutes tops.

Playgrounds, on the other hand, cannot be dealt with as easily. I've critiqued the proposal, but there's no equivalent option to taking the bus. Either parents, hopefully with yard space, have to incur the expense of playground equipment in their yard, or they drive, assuming they have an automobile, to a distant playground, thus counteracting the concept of exercise (which you can get by walking to Forest Hills, btw), or they move, leaving the place they chose to raise their children.

The #32 bus is the 7th busiest line, and second only to the 39 out of Forest Hills. The fare to Hyde Park station is Zone 1, and the fare to Readville is Zone 2, the most expensive in the city, even over the more wealthy sections of West Roxbury. Get over it.

That's silly

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If the walk to the playground is relevant, then the parent who drives their kid to the playground can just park further away and walk the rest of the way. Just because you drive to somewhere doesn't mean you have to park in front of the place.

That was another argument presented for having more neighborhood parks that was in their complaint that was just silly to me too.

And your kid can just drive ...

Oops. That doesn't work.

There is something to be said for having enough parks that a kid can take a short walk to the playground solo.

While I understand your larger point about not needing lots of car space, it would be nice if no car space (beyond a handicap parking spot) were necessary because parks were within walking distance for most.

There is another way to get there

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other than walking or driving, but as I have caused these very well meaning people way too much grief with my critique of their proposal, I will not start that flame war.

Just like I didn't like it when the commuter rail troll started on his "they charge me too much to take the commuter rail even though there is a bus line a block from whichever stop it is I get on at" babel. I just wanted to keep things at least close to topic.

No one hates playgrounds, except if you live next door to one and hate kids, but who hates kids? I do, however, hate the commuter rail troll.

A read of the Boston Globe

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A read of the Boston Globe spotlight series the past few days would put into better perspective why it might be that Brighton appears to have an open space-to-density ratio issue. Not sure you can compare that to a neighborhood like Roslindale that is completely different in its composition and needs.

it looks like they're

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it looks like they're including the BHA playground at Bromley Heath for JP? But not Beechland Street or Blue Ledge Drive housing playgrounds.

Ross playground is missing from that map too.... maybe technically it is in hyde park but it is within the view frame of that map.

Add those 3 and that map is a bit oranger

oh maybe, I've never actually

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oh maybe, I've never actually been there.... don't see a guard at google street view, just municipal "not a thru street" signs at Washington street....

just looked again, and looks like a guardhouse further in, and at the Enneking Parkway entrance.

so scratch that one, kids!

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What went on the map

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We put Bromley Heath on the map because it's in the open space plan, but I guess I don't know for certain that we've accounted for all BHA playgrounds consistently. I can say for sure that there's a public playground there, and I think I got all of the (non-schoolyard) public playgrounds in Roslindale on that map, as well. Yes, Ross playground is also on the map but it doesn't really serve Roslindale at all. I guess it would make that map a little more orange, but only because making a rectangular map meant showing a bunch of space that's not in Roslindale. Honestly, I don't think those changes would substantially change the overall message that the maps send.

roslindale is the ONLY neighborhood in the entire city

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without a single spray/water feature. even a simple fountain was nixed in the adam's park redesign because the city supposedly didn't have the budget for it. Adam's Park probably didn't need a playground, but a water feature would have been an attraction for kids and families.

Also - the area north of Cummins is largely multi-family, and even if they were to put a playground at Pagel, you can't really access it from the west side of the train tracks.

btw - do a survey of parents at the Brewer Burroughs playground, I'm betting a large number live in Roslindale.

Issues like this are why redistricting matters

Just because it's one of my soapbox issues, I'll also point out that Roslindale happens to be one of the largest neighborhoods in the city that's divided politically among at least 2 city councilors, 2 or 3 state reps and I honestly don't know how many state senators. It's also carved into 2 or 3 wards (I know it's in both 19 and 18.. I suspect it's in ward 20 too, but not sure) so it doesn't carry the political clout that other neighborhoods can.

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Your point is accurate and

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Your point is accurate and well put. Also, you're right, parts of Roslindale in the Longfellow Neighborhood are indeed in Ward 20 (off of South Street and Walter Street).

Gotta love the people on here

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Gotta love the people on here who immediately jump down the throats of a group of parents who simply point out what is irrefutable: that a Roslindale playground has not had capital improvements done in a decade. Meanwhile, pretty much every other neighborhood has. These parents are doing exactly what people should be doing in this situation - organizing. It's not about pitting Allston versus Roslindale, or West Roxbury versus Roslindale, far from it. It's simply about allocating resources in a fair manner. Political leaders will listen when people organize and produce numbers. I know some of the people involved in this and applaud them.

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At least some of us....

... live in Roslindale and simply want to make sure that all the facts have been gotten straight. Nothing hurts a presentation more than people poking holes into it -- which you aren't ready to address.

I live in Roslindale too and

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I live in Roslindale too and seems like the presentation is pretty accurate. People work day jobs and do this in their spare time so I am pretty impressed with these efforts considering. I haven't seen anyone on here point out any glaring inaccuracy in what was presented.

Also people are too focused on how many playgrounds there are in one neighborhood versus another. The initial point of this was to obtain capital funding for existing playgrounds in Roslindale that have not had it in a decade. No one has refuted that point.

Exactly

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People cannot doubt the lack of facilities in the south end (your end) of the neighborhood, but when someone claims that the City hasn't spent money in recreation in Roslindale less than a year after the pool reopened at Healy Field after renovations, I have to look skeptical at things. Fallon Field's play materials are fairly new, the playground people don't want to admit exists at the Conley is relatively new, and Dale Street suffers from being in the hands of the DCR and positioned to be ignored.

I can assure the people behind this that I will not be a NIMBY resident, but the 8 city councilors you need to convince of your ideas who do not represent the area will do the same thing we are doing here, though they will be more politic about it.

Money spent on recreation

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We're not claiming that no money has been spent on recreation. Money has been spent on field renovations at Pagel, Healy, and Fallon. Flaherty Pool got a major (and much needed) renovation. And, yes, a couple of schools did get new playgrounds. But we're focusing on public playgrounds that are available to residents at all times.

Is the report perfect? No. We don't have access (that I know of) to data at anywhere near the level of detail that we would need to create a truly comprehensive report on the state of playgrounds in every neighborhood in the city, nor do we have the time or know-how to create such a report. But criticisms of that kind are really missing the forest for the trees. Look at the budget for the last ten years - playgrounds in Roslindale don't get renovated. Look at how many playgrounds there actually are in Roslindale - there are only a couple. It was interesting to try to find out if this was typical for other neighborhoods, and as far as we can tell, Roslindale's playgrounds have consistently been a low priority. We created some simple graphics to try to demonstrate that issue. If they're a little rough around the edges we'll do what we can to correct any issues that we turn up, but I'm pretty confident the overall message will be the same.

Okay, let's look at this a different way

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What exactly are the recreational needs of Roslindale for kids?

I was going to leave my comment at that, but here are some thoughts based on my knowledge of the neighborhood. Of the 2 playgrounds that serve the northern part of the neighborhood (Fallon and Healy) the equipment is in good shape. If you don't believe this, document it. The Pagel, the only Parks and Rec facility east of the Northeast Corridor, consists purely of soccer fields and a grassy area, with no swings or slides or anything like that (we'll call that a playground) Weider Park, or Dale Street as we call it, has playground facilities but is a bit dumpy and underused. The Bates and Conley have playground equipment, but use by the larger public is discouraged during school hours. There are no spray decks in any of these facilities, though there is an indoor pool at the Healy. An area roughly bounded by Poplar, Washington, and Beech Streets is at a distance from all but the school playgrounds.

What can be done about this?

That's the million dollar question. If the group came up with a concrete proposal, such as ensuring open access for families to the playgrounds at the Bates and Conley (cheapest solution) the conversation might be different. But claiming that the children of Roslindale are somehow underserved or deprived as the points in the presentation claim are not ringing well here. I was somehow was able to grow up from an infant in Roslindale and was able to play games, run, bike, keep cool at the pool, and other things kids in other parts of the city were able to do just fine. And there is one more park (Pagel) than when I was a kid. The strong Roslindale contingent on UHub have raised kids or been kids themselves. They know the lay of the land.

I look forward to seeing the actual proposal, but until then please take the criticism here as a help in honing the message.

More to this point

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The open space report for Roslindale lists the following active play options:

• Support a schoolyard reconstruction with a play lot at the
Mozart School.
• Determine the feasibility of building a play lot at the Poplar
Street Play Area once community need expresses itself.
• Explore opportunities to create a regional scale active
recreation facility at the Boston State Hospital site.

So, rather than say "Identify sites in Roslindale that would be suitable for the construction of new playgrounds (including lands potentially eligible for taking by eminent domain or long-term lease arrangements) and develop them in the near future" as a demand. Why not speak to what the city has already done in that regard?

They found the Poplar St area and are willing to consider a play lot (request that it absolutely has a water feature). They're willing to push for a giant play area at the Boston State Hospital. Tell them you want input into its design and tie it into your request for innovative play, Berliner equipment, etc.

I'm still not totally sold on an identified need, but working under that assumption, you can't just say "fix our complaint" and expect to get anywhere. You also might not like the answer they come up with for fixing the problem you identify. Best to be more specific in your demands AND work with a direction they've already proposed to get more traction.

Yes, this is roughly what we're doing

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These very items from the open space plan have already come up in conversations we've had with people who can help us do something about this. Perhaps we can change the language in the document a bit, but one thing we'd like to preserve is some notion that the city be open to other ideas that may come up, as well. We're hoping that other parents in the neighborhood - and most parents we've contacted agree pretty strongly that the city could do better by Roslindale - will have some other creative and realistic ideas. We don't want to pigeonhole ourselves into just the few ideas that we're aware of so far.

Thanks for the suggestion - it is true that it's important for us to approach this in a way that is likely to get us somewhere.

Unless you're a Boston city

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Unless you're a Boston city councilor or the mayor of Boston, I'm not sure they need to 100% meet your requirements...

Huh?

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So, this group doesn't need to prove anything to the elected officials? Unless they are planning to raise the capital funds, build it, and maintain it themselves, the city council and mayor will need convincing. And as a resident of Ciommo's district, the father who raised kids in the playground desert of Roslindale, and a lifelong resident of Roslindale who has a toddler who is fond of playgrounds (okay, swings and green spaces) have been offering a critique of this, good luck convincing the people who actually review proposals like this. I've been in meetings with city councillors. They will all seem supportive, but that's a politician speaking.

Look, Kaz above makes great points, and ckollett is getting the critique, which gives hope that this could amount to something.

And an unrelated point based on the comments cited above. Proposing a spray deck at Poplar Street is a loser. The space is too small, and I'm willing to bet the abbutters will object. Healy Field is the best place, hands down. Pipes are there. The space is there. It's the way to go.

Reading comprehension. I

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Reading comprehension. I said unless YOU (aka Waquiot) are a city councilor or the mayor, they do not need to meet 100% of your requirements.

Also, how can you be a resident of Ciommo's district but lifelong Roslindale resident? Maybe you meant McCarthy?

We're falling apart here

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You can represent second person, but also synonymous for "one."

Kaz lives in Brighton. Kerpan raised his kids in Roslindale. I grew up, and was able to play, in Roslindale and am now raising a toddler here. We've all be critical of the document presented.

So, I'm going to assume your knowledge of the city is lacking, as our City Councilor is from Hyde Park and our mayor is from Dorchester. In order for any of these ideas for playgrounds in Roslindale to come to fruition, the Mayor and Council will need to be convinced. McCarthy will probably go along, as he represents the area, and perhaps some of the at-large councilors will go along. As has been note repeatedly, Kerpan and I are offering critique objectively, not as opposition to the possible plans. Our feeling would be that things should be tweaked before you go in front of disinterested parties with fiduciary responsibilities.

Maybe I can pull this back together.

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Let me try pull this back together and hopefully close this thread out...

  1. If Rob is who I think he is (I'm just making an educated guess, I really don't know for sure), his knowledge of the city is far from lacking. I think you guys are just misinterpreting each others' comments rather than demonstrating a superior or inferior understanding of the city relative to each other.
  2. What we're seeing here isn't intended to be a final version of anything. It's an initial bit of work that Councilor McCarthy has already seen and reacted favorably to, and which we're publicizing a bit so that local parents have some understanding of what we're up to and why. Before we "go in front of disinterested parties" there will be plenty of discussion among interested parties in which we further hone our message and develop some more concrete asks. We already have some of those discussions lined up. Some of the suggestions here and elsewhere will likely be helpful for us, too. But it's not like we're going to say that this report is done, throw it out to the mayor and the council as is, and cross our fingers that something good will come of it.

Yup

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At the end, you all will deserve all credit for the foot work. All we did was help with the editing process.

Good luck!

My knowledge of the city is

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My knowledge of the city is definitely not lacking. Your point is self-evident regarding who needs to ultimately approve any city budget money obviously - that is not lost on people. Getting back to what I said, the initial point of this whole exercise was to show Roslindale has been on the short end of city budgets for playgrounds. That has not been refuted and, as someone who definitely knows how things work, that's not a bad initial selling point. But obviously more will need to be done to convince the folks in the know. I would suggest taking what is often a disadvantage (that Roslindale is split between so many elected) and using it as an advantage to get these people on board. McCarthy has the bulk of Roslindale but O'Malley has a chunk, for example, as you know. On the mayoral front, John Connolly did pretty well in Roslindale so it would behoove Mayor Walsh to give Rozzi some extra love with an eye a couple years down the line. This is all doable. Thanks to those that have got the ball rolling.

Healy has some issues

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There aren't enough basketball courts (or anything other than baseball diamonds), and the playground is far too small to accommodate the number of kids who would (and do) use it - and it's in a weird corner of the park next to some horrible-sounding HVAC equipment. There are a LOT of families with small children who live in the immediate vicinity of that park.

Plus Florence Street is often used as a cut-through for motorists getting between Hyde Park Ave and Washington, and there are no marked crossings or physical traffic calming and a blind curve so it's pretty dangerous - added to this there are often a number of kids riding bikes around there.

the baseball fields are nice, and the new pool is nice, though... but this park needs a lot of help - at the very least could use some water spray decks. I'd argue this is the main Roslindale park and should receive the most attention.

Fallon (which has the nicest playground in Roslindale) is too far of a trek for families who live east of the square - you might as well head up to JP if you're going there.

Important to note

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that Roslindale is increasingly where a lot of people being priced out of JP end up - especially young families looking for more space - so that's why there's always this comparison between the two neighborhoods.

You can already see this change in demographics at community meetings. Rozzie is no longer culturally similar to Westie or Hyde Park - I think the vibe of the neighborhood is shifting closer to that of JP.

Question of perspective

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I would say that Roslindale no more has a JP vibe than it ever had a West Roxbury vibe. It never quite had a Hyde Park vibe, but then again I tended not to gravitate towards Hyde Park until recently. The link to West Roxbury is strong- we share 2 newspapers and a little league, while Jamaica Plain has the geographic block of the Arboretum, the cemeteries, and the gridlock that is Forest Hills.

The reality is that Roslindale is a mix of old school Irish (West Roxbury orbit,) Lebanese (West Roxbury orbit) and Italians (Hyde Park orbit) along with newer groups of Haitians (Hyde Park and Mattapan orbit) and Hispanics (old Jamaica Plain orbit) and now dealing with the influx of a group I don't want to insult by giving them a name, but the group to which you refer.

The map is a bit misleading

Playground density is misleading for the simple reason that Roslindale is less densely populated than JP, and it gives us no idea of the number of children in each neighborhood.

The group's main support can be found in their first sets of charts in the .pdf, which depict playgrounds, water features, and resources per 1,000 children, relative to other neighborhoods. That's a pretty good support for their argument that they aren't getting what others are.

Add in some background / context?

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Maybe it's obvious to everyone who has had kids - but to pick up on the comment about recreational needs, it may be worth being clearer about why playgrounds are needed, and how important they are to families and kids. Lots of people don't get it. Kids can be active, busy and engaged for hours in a playground, in a way that just a field can't come close to matching. There are few our kids would rather do. It also provides a break for parents, and a chance to build community.

At some point you'd also want to get into what types; and what age groups they should serve. For example, North Point Park on the edge of Cambridge has effectively 3 smallish playgrounds that serve different age groups next to each other - one designed for tots, one for older kids, one for 6-12 year olds (or so).

Is this the same as ...

... the one on Beechland Street (which someone mentioned earlier):? It looks rather nice, but seems to be right in the middle of the new development (as opposed to on an edge).

It's hidden, but no barrier

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I have to admit I've never been in Beechland (I ran through High Point once, but never again as it was after running through the very hilly Stony Brook Reservation.). Unlike High Point, the roads are open to all and the fencing is more decorative than anything else. If not for the climb and my odd fondness for Dale Street, I'd check it out.

Thanks for the info

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I was unaware of that playground. It's not in the parks departments' recent budgets, so it must have been bult by the BHA. It's mentioned here, but I have no idea if it's open to the public.