Brookline Journal

Public Ownership of 60-Acre Major Park In Brookline Necessary
So City Can Take Advantage Of Federal Funds

Members of City Council and Departments of City Planning and Parks and Recreation officials last week outlined a sweeping proposal calling for the creation of a 60-acre major park for the Brookline-Overbrook area.

At a public meeting held in the Department of City Planning offices, Brookline residents heard City officials urge the assembly for unification of the 16-acre Brookline Memorial Community Center property with the turn-around of the old 39 Brookline trolley and an adjacent 38-acres which are largely vacant and owned by the tax-delinquent bodies.

"Public ownership of the entire area is necessary so that the park can be planned and developed as a unit and so that the City can take advantage of Federal funds in order to accelerate the development of a truly major community facility," said John T. Mauro, Director of Planning and Development.

Planning officials pointed out several steps which have been taken thus far, including:

1. The Port Authority has agreed to donate the old 39 trolley turn-around property to the City at no cost as part of the development.

2. Planning officials have asked to meet with officers and members of the Brookline Memorial Community Center Association on the possibility of donating the property th the City for permanent recreation development purposes.

3. The overall plan has the endorsement of the Departments of Parks and Recreation, Lands and Buildings, as well as City Council.

4. The Department of City Planning is preparing to formally request the Federal Government for 50% development and acquisition assistance under the Open Space program.

5. A sum of $10,000 has been allocated by the Department of Parks and Recreation to hire landscape architects for the overall design of the 60-acre park.

Public ownership and consolidation of these properties present a final opportunity to preserve and develop one of the last vacant tracts of land available in the Brookline area for permanent recreational development, according to the planners.

Attending the meeting from the City were City Councilmen Patrick Fagan, Walter Kamyk, and Mrs. Irma D'Ascenzo, Robert J. Templeton, director of the Department of Parks and Recreation, and Anthony J. Cortese, Department of City Planning.

Planning officials pointed out that the proposed park would serve well over 11,000 persons, including 3,500 school aged children who live in the Brookline-Overbrook area.

Turning to a timetable of schedules, Mr. Mauro said certain phases of the development can begin as early as next year, including the further development of the present playing fields and the construction of a tot-lot on the old turn-around property.

"An overall design would be planned, and we would hope that we could work with a representative group of area citizens in carrying out the different phases of development," said Mr. Mauro.

Included in the proposed plan are a neighborhood center, where activities can be presented for a number of different age groups, the development of several parklets, picnic areas, camping sites, nature trails, a wading pool, and other facilities.

"The key element in this entire development would be a neighborhood center, where community groups could participate in a whole series of cultural, recreational and educational programs," said Mr. Mauro.

The City Planning Department estimates that approximately $120,000 would be needed to acquire all properties exclusive of the Community Center property.

"We would hope that the Association property would be donated to the City free of cost, since any money the City would not have to spend for acquisition could be used to accelerate development," said Mr. Mauro.

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