South End Library Friends Group Takes Ownership of Snow Removal in Library Park

See below for an article from Boston.com on the Library Park South End

In tough economic (and winter) climate, friends group steps up

 Posted by Cara Bayles January 21, 2011 05:44 PM

The South End Library Park had not yet been sanded long after last week's storm, and left a sheet of ice over the pathway through it.

By Cara Bayles, Town Correspondent

The path through the South End Library Park, a popular shortcut for pedestrians cutting through from Rutland Square to the library on Tremont Street, is a sheet of ice covered by a layer of water.

But the city has told the Friends of the South End Library group that it will not be salting or sanding the walkway through the park.

“They said they don’t have the resources to deal with it right now, and it’s obviously not high on their priority list,” said Glyn Polson, president of the friends group. “It’s a concern of ours, because you can tell from the path that’s been beaten through there and pressed down—the ice is two inches thick in some places—it’s pretty well used and well frequented, both by residents of the city and anyone using the library.”

At a Thursday night meeting, the friends group decided it will pay out of pocket for the labor of spreading salt and sand, which will be provided by the library’s main branch. They resolved to be in charge of this aspect of the park’s maintenance for the rest of the winter.

The city’s Department of Parks and Recreation could not be reached for comment.

The decision suggests a shift in the role of the group, which officially earned nonprofit status in 2006, and last year galvanized around defending the branch when libraries in the system faced closure. Lately, the group has focused on more basic maintenance upgrades, and it has already raised $850 toward a $12,000 new door for the front entrance, to replace the existing one, which isn't handicap accessible.

“It’s in accordance with a new role that friends groups may be taking on in this economic climate,” Polson said. “We feel it’s something we can do to alleviate some of the burden on the city and to help our neighbors and our local library.” E-mail Cara Bayles at carabayles@gmail.com.