City parks plan update still underway

The City’s Parks Department is on track to finish updating its massive “Open Space Plan,” which will guide parks policy from 2015 to 2021, by the end of the year.

Parks spokesperson Jon Seamans told the Gazette last week that the “massive document,” which requires input from multiple agencies, will use an updated map that correctly outlines Jamaica Plain and Mission Hill.

The last Open Space Plan used a Boston neighborhoods map created by the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) and distributed throughout City agencies for decades that added most of Mission Hill to JP while cutting out Parkside, Forest Hills and Woodbourne. The BRA ceased relying on the incorrect maps in recent years after the Gazette revealed the problem, and most agencies no longer use them.

Among other issues, the incorrect maps could result in incorrect distribution of City resources among neighborhoods. Even though the current Open Space Plan used the incorrect map, it noted Mission Hill as a separate neighborhood and identified Forest Hills parkland, such as Parkman Playground, as being in JP even though it was cut out of the BRA map.

The comprehensive plan counts not only City parks, but also parkland owned by others as well as any kind of privately owned open space. And it not only looks at current park uses, but also tries to identify trends in new needs and uses, such as skateboard parks, dog runs or bicycle amenities. Among other things, it is used in capital budget planning.

Planning for the new plan is expected to include results of massive survey, conducted in seven languages. Even though the official community input period ended last October, comments can still be sent to [email protected].

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