Design a Better Franklin Park

George_Apley

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Yeah... perpetual gang violence aside, the neighborhoods around the park are really not that bad day-to-day for folks walking around on the street. The northern areas of Franklin Park adjacent to the zoo get plenty of use from local families.
 

Blackbird

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Hmm... while the golf course is still my single least favorite thing about Franklin Park, considering the widening of my thread's scope I'll list a few more grievances. I'd like to see the thru streets (namely Circuit Drive) at best buried but at least tied into the park better like the drives in Central Park (i.e. with way more crosswalks, stop lights, and paths that run across it). Scarboro Pond is currently wasted and could be a lot nicer; idk if it's big enough for rowboats, but that'd be kinda cool. More bike paths. More open fields. I'd see both the zoo and golf course closed and partially replaced with a Drumlin Farm style thing that focuses on livestock, farming/gardening, and local wildlife/ecosystems rather than exotic animals and is free to all Boston residents. The forested sections need better lighting and security (one of my friends in high school was mugged after a football game at White Stadium). Idk what the deal is with the bottom corner of the park (where American Legion meets Morton), but that area would have to be either relocated or incorporated into the park.

Not to sound overly harsh, but considering the surroundings, taking out the golf course would only serve in the immediate term to allow the locals more room to drink, piss, shit, fuck, fight, get high and dump bodies while further limiting the supply of inexpensive public golf courses frequented by members of the 'hammered' middle class.
I know you've sort of taken it back, and I respect that. However, "poor people don't deserve a nice park because they can't be trusted with one" is one of the worst takes I've ever heard.

And to reiterate: I'm all for the existence of affordable, city-run golf courses. Just not here. Perhaps the forested area around George Wright is large enough to host another course? Could the forests south of Roxbury Latin be made into a public course? Maybe Thompson Island or Long Island could have courses on them? Anywhere except Franklin Park (or the Arboretum, Jamaica Pond, the Fens, or the Common).
 

The EGE

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Long Island would make a SPECTACULAR golf course. It's plenty large enough (225 acres, versus typical 150 acres for a 18-hole course) and has incredible views. At probably less than 150 golfers a day, you wouldn't need a terribly expensive boat shuttle to the mainland, and Quincy wouldn't complain about the level of traffic. Get a big-name course designer and you can probably charge $100 for a round - but keep a much lower price for Boston residents - and self-fund the course and the new Franklin Park.
 

Blackbird

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^Well that wouldn’t exactly resolve kmp’s issue concerning the lack of affordable golf courses in the city. The $100 ticket could potential include the ferry service and maybe a drink voucher for a clubhouse restaurant. I’d also worry about the wind being too strong, but I’m sure there are coastal courses in the country (Hilton Head?) that have ways to mitigate the effects of ocean breezes.

Edit: Didn’t see the part about lower prices for Boston residents. Yes, that’d be very nice.
 

meddlepal

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Winds would probably be too strong. No way $100 is covering the ferry out to the island plus the round and then a drink voucher. Granite Links which is a decent but mediocre course (well the front 9 is a beautiful, but the back 9 is a mess) is getting $125 for rounds. Construction costs for an island course are likely to also be astronomical from the persepctive of getting equipment out and supplies out there (I realize it's not exactly far away from land, but it still is a logistical pain and there could be a lot of problems like the need to signifigantly terraform the place.

You'd be looking at 150-200+ price point minimum and that's not affordable anymore.

Golf starts to get really hard to play in high winds. Most people don't have the game for it so it becomes a a bit of caricature of the game.
 

Blackbird

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You'd be looking at 150-200+ price point minimum and that's not affordable anymore.
Even with a heavy subsidy from the city? I expect municipal recreational facilities don't turn a profit or break even in a traditional sense.

Anyway, I'm not the person to hammer out the economics or logistics. I was just spitballing large tracts of land that are undeveloped and on the edges of the city that could take the place of the Franklin Park course. Maybe Millenium Park in West Roxbury could be converted into one?
 
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meddlepal

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Even with a heavy subsidy from the city? I expect municipal recreational facilities don't turn a profit or break even in a traditional sense.
I don't know where I would find the numbers for that nor do I really care enough to dig into it, but I wouldn't be surprised if Boston's courses turn a decent profit - a lot of smaller cities manage to make _some_ money on their municipal courses. They obviously get a budget allocation each year. The big expenses for courses are maintenance so course operators tweak the maintenance levers to make profits assuming rounds played per season are pretty steady.

Not sure why you'd want to the city to spend even more money on Golf subsidizing an expensive fantasy course out in the Harbor when it has a perfectly good course already situated in an accessible place. Speaking for myself, I'd probably play it once and that would be enough for me because the logistics of getting to Long Island sucks (and I'm someone who already travels a lot to play golf outside of Boston).

So yea it's a bad idea.
 

Blackbird

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I don't know where I would find the numbers for that nor do I really care enough to dig into it, but I wouldn't be surprised if Boston's courses turn a decent profit
I’m sure it’s online somewhere. Maybe I’ll look it up later. I’m more familiar with the city’s sailing organizations than golf ones, and I know that Courageous and CBI are not-for-profits. Guess I figured the golf courses would be the same.

So yea it's a bad idea.
Mmkay, toss that one out. Move forward with the conversion of Millennium Park.
 
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Scott

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What about the Esplanade? We move a couple statues, cut down a few trees...
 

greenlinetobrooklyn

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I just want to chime and say that my wife and I have brought our 3mo to stroll around Franklin Park twice during quarantine. Last time we were there, a bunch of people were picnicking in the Playstead.
 

Blackbird

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The Playstead is nice, but could you imagine if the entire park was like that? :love:

Part of me feels bad about railing against the William J. Devine golf course. It's been there long enough to warrant being called historic. However, Franklin Park is more historic. It's been there longer and it was designed to be the Jeweled Pendant hanging at the end of the Emerald Necklace. An iconic park for the City of Boston, like Berlin's Tiergarten. Furthermore, the two can't possibly coexist because they literally, physically overlap.

I'd even be happier with the Esplanade being a golf course. Storrow Drive would probably have to be buried and wind would still be an issue, but the Esplanade is the newer park and wasn't designed to serve as many people as Franklin Park.
 
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George_Apley

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I'd even be happier with the Esplanade being a golf course. Storrow Drive would probably have to be buried and wind would still be an issue, but the Esplanade is the newer park and wasn't designed to serve as many people as Franklin Park.
No. No no no.
 

JeffDowntown

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I'd even be happier with the Esplanade being a golf course. Storrow Drive would probably have to be buried and wind would still be an issue, but the Esplanade is the newer park and wasn't designed to serve as many people as Franklin Park.
The Esplanade has real potential. We could put up a high wall along the land side, with gated entries onto what used to be Storrow Drive. Storrow gets converted into a valet parking lot. We convert the Hatch Shell into a private clubhouse with live entertainment. Charge $100,000 joining fee and $25,000 per year for membership, and we are all set. /s
 
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Bananarama

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I'd even be happier with the Esplanade being a golf course. Storrow Drive would probably have to be buried and wind would still be an issue, but the Esplanade is the newer park and wasn't designed to serve as many people as Franklin Park.
Don't forget the /s !!

But if this is serious, you're off your rocker haha. The Esplanade gets exponentially more pedestrian traffic than Franklin. It's within the urban core. Historical purpose be damned, Franklin might have had more grand intentions, but it's just not an integral part of the city. It's been said already, but the density and transit connections around it are way too low.

I don't anyone would object to Storrow being buried though. Maybe then James and his wife would stop rolling in their graves over its construction.
 

Blackbird

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But if this is serious, you're off your rocker haha.
It was definitely somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

However if you’re upset at the idea of the Esplanade being a golf course but not at the idea of Franklin Park being one, then you’re off your rocker.
 

JeffDowntown

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It was definitely somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

However if you’re upset at the idea of the Esplanade being a golf course but not at the idea of Franklin Park being one, then you’re off your rocker.
It was definitely tongue-in-cheek.

I don't object to the concept of municipal golf courses (any more than I object to municipal ball fields, tennis courts, fitness trails, beaches...). But I think the best muni golf courses I have seen utilize locations and land that are ill-suited for other park purposes. A good, creative golf course designer can turn a complex geographical challenge into a cool course.
 

Bananarama

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It was definitely somewhat tongue-in-cheek.

However if you’re upset at the idea of the Esplanade being a golf course but not at the idea of Franklin Park being one, then you’re off your rocker.
Oh I'd prefer no golf course at all. But the lesser of two evils is definitely where it's located now!
 

HenryAlan

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But if this is serious, you're off your rocker haha. The Esplanade gets exponentially more pedestrian traffic than Franklin. It's within the urban core. Historical purpose be damned, Franklin might have had more grand intentions, but it's just not an integral part of the city. It's been said already, but the density and transit connections around it are way too low.
I wonder about this. The same could easily be said about the Arboretum. and Jamaica Pond. The surrounding residential densities are probably even lower, and yet both are heavily used, so much so that I find social distancing at the Arbs a challenge at times. I think many people come from further away to visit these two but would for whatever reason not consider going to Franklin Park.
 

Bananarama

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I wonder about this. The same could easily be said about the Arboretum. and Jamaica Pond. The surrounding residential densities are probably even lower, and yet both are heavily used, so much so that I find social distancing at the Arbs a challenge at times. I think many people come from further away to visit these two but would for whatever reason not consider going to Franklin Park.
Good point. I think the Arboretum has a strength being more of an "attraction" with the museum and such. It has some cache as a destination with a tree collection rather than just another park. The Forest Hills station is also a bit closer to an entrance.

It's also an argument for a better designed park because the Arboretum is vastly more pedestrian focused. It probably sucks in any of the foot traffic that might go to Franklin.
 

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