After decades of negotiations, the Board of Selectmen approved a license agreement with the City of Boston this week for use of .
The license agreement gives Burlington access and the ability to build recreational fields on the 5-acre park. The term of the agreement is for 10 years with a 5-year renewal option when the term expires. Burlington Town Administrator Robert Mercier said that as long as the town doesn’t do anything on the property that goes against the conditions established in the trust there should be no problem getting the five-year extension and a second agreement after 15 years.
“The language is such that it says unless the town does something extraordinary the license agreement will almost automatic rollover for 5 more years,” he said in an interview this week. “After 15 years I think it will continue. More active use means the park will be attended to more. Right now nobody maintains it or patrols it and we will do that now.”
The land was entrusted to the City of Boston by Mary B. Cummings in her 1925 will, according to the Friends of Mary Cummings Park web site. The Boston's Park Department took control of the land in 1930 with the condition, stated in the will, “To hold and keep the same forever open as a public pleasure ground, and to maintain and care for the same in a suitable manner in accordance with that purpose.”
Mercier said the proposed recreational development project is in conformity with the conditions of the trust. That project, funded with $250,000 allocated in the May 2010 Town Meeting, is for a regulation sized soccer field that can be used at two smaller fields for multiple games and a walking path.
“Both the City and we feel strongly that we are not deviating from the intent to maintain the park as recreational space for future generations,” he said. “It’s been a struggle for a long time and ultimately [Boston] Mayor Thomas Menino, who we met with, agreed this made sense. We will make it an active park for residents.”
At Monday night’s meeting, the members of the board and Mercier expressed satisfaction to finally have an agreement and be able to get started on the recreation project.
“It’s been a long time coming. I’m gratified; I appreciate the work the city has done with us,” Mercier said later, echoing statements made by board members. “We identified a need for recreational space and a lot of people have dreamed for 25 to have access for that purpose. I look forward to when we turn over the first shovel.”