• Who We Are

    City Parks Blog is a joint effort of the Center for City Park Excellence at the Trust for Public Land and the City Parks Alliance to chronicle the news and issues of the urban park movement. Read more about us.
  • Urban Park Issues

  • Enter your email address to receive notifications of new City Parks Blog posts by email.

  • Archives

  • Urban Green Cover Ad

March’s Frontline Park: Franklin Park

At 527 acres, Franklin Park is the largest greenspace in Boston, boasting a 220-acre forest, an 18-hole golf course, the regional zoo, tennis and basketball courts, baseball diamonds, a cricket pitch, miles of woodland trails, picnic areas, and playgrounds. It is the only park in Boston where one can bicycle and barbecue. Designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Franklin Park is the “jewel” of the Emerald Necklace, located in the geographic heart of the city and surrounded by Boston’s most diverse neighborhoods.

Dancing in Franklin Park

The park has hundreds of daily visitors, and thousands who come for cultural festivals and sporting events and is viewed by the city police department as one of the safest parks in the Boston. However, Franklin Park’s reputation as a popular community destination was shaken when, in late fall 2011, a woman walking through Franklin Park with her grandchild on a midweek afternoon was attacked, a victim of random violence. Some golfers in the area heard the woman’s cries for help and ran off her attacker, but the evening news seemed to confirm the worst fears of suburban denizens: urban parks are not safe. Regulars of the park had spent many years convincing their friends, neighbors, and colleagues of the beauty and safety of the area, and with one unlikely event, all that work could have been undone.

Three nights later, 200 people from the surrounding communities gathered with flashlights in hand to traverse a 2.5 mile path around the park in the dark. The statement was clear: people who used the park would not be scared away from their favorite place in Boston. Neighborhood organizations have now taken up park safety in their regular meetings with local police and buddy system walking groups have formed.

Franklin Park will be featured on CPA’s homepage through the end of March.

The “Frontline Parks” program is made possible with generous support from DuMor, Inc. and PlayCore.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s