Letter: JP Citizen was a friend to Franklin Park

The Jamaica Plain Citizen was not only the newspaper of record for Jamaica Plain for half a century, it was a partner in making Jamaica Plain a better place to live as well. (“JP Citizen, historic newspaper, ceases publishing,” Nov. 9.)

When Franklin Park had seemingly been abandoned by Jamaica Plain in the 1970s, the JP Citizen willingly opened its pages to promoting the work of the Franklin Park Coalition to restore Franklin Park.

The Citizen ran stories and photos of the August 1977 Hugh O’Brien Dinner; the Coalition’s summer work crews; the Parks Department’s 1981 improvements to the Williams Street entrance, 99 Steps and Scarborough Hill Concourse; and the 1984 $400,00 capital project that restored the Valley Gates and built a new gate at Glen Road ( closed to through traffic in 1981). The Citizen covered spring and fall walking tours and annual lectures sponsored by Coalition. The Citizen gave full coverage to the centennial of Franklin Park in 1985.

The Jamaica Plain Citizenwent above and beyond that partnership with the Franklin Park Coalition. In the fall of 1980, I approached the editor-in-chief and owner, Harry Pollack, and asked if he would run a weekly series of articles that would trace the history of Franklin Park.

Harry Pollack and his editors agreed with the idea, and for the next 52 weeks, from January to December 1981, I wrote 700- to 1,000-word chapters on the history of Franklin Park, from the early days of the Boston parks movement in 1875 until 1981, called “Franklin Park Notes.”

For 31 years, “Franklin Park Notes” has been the first and only history of Franklin Park ever written. That thousands of people read that weekly history could not have happened without the Jamaica Plain Citizen opening its pages to the Franklin Park Coalition. (It is only on microfilm  today. The hard copy of the series is at the current Franklin Park Coalition office.)

Harry Pollack and his editors at the Jamaica Plain Citizen were great friends to the old Franklin Park Coalition and to Franklin Park. They understood the power of the written word to teach and involve the citizen.

Richard Heath

Jamaica Plain

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