Thursday, February 12, 2009

All I Want is a Good Chocolate Shake

Boston City Council President Mike Ross and Councilor Sal LaMattina hit the road last night, presenting their thoughts regarding urgently needed Boston Common improvements at a well-attended community forum.

The forum was hosted by the Beacon Hill Civic Association (of which I am a board member). Several heavy hitters regarding the Common were there, including Henry Lee, the president of the Friends of the Public Garden Group, and Tom Kershaw, owner of the Hampshire House and the man behind the Frog Pong skating rink.

Many of the ideas presented by the Councilors require money that will be hard to raise in the current economic climate, but one of them does not. President Ross said if he were Parks Commissioner, he would immediately put out an RFP for outside interests to refurbish decrepit buildings in the Common and create new restaurants or eating establishments. Such commercial interests would bring new positive activity to the park and make the commercial entity a partner in park safety and cleanliness. I like the idea a lot.

The impetus for Councilor Ross's recommendation is found in New York, where during a trip last year he, Councilor LaMattina and others saw how eateries in a few Big Apple parks greatly enhanced the experience. I wrote last year about experiencing something similar when I bought a cheeseburger and a chocolate shake at the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park. That place is so popular there is a web cam online that monitors how long the line is.

We will see what happens next with Councilor Ross's plan for the Common.

City Council President Mike Ross (standing in back) addresses a group at the 74 Joy Street building, Beacon Hill. To his right is Councilor LaMattina. Standing to the right of the photo is Colin Zick, chairman of the BHCA Parks & Open Spaces Committee. Seated is Henry Lee.
Beacon Hill, Boston
February 11, 2009

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