Long Wharf Park, at the seaward end of historic Long Wharf in Boston Harbor, is under threat.
Since 2006, the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) has been trying to lease the space to a private operator who will build a late-night restaurant and bar. Since 2008, the North End Ten have been fighting this change as unconstitutional: The Massachusetts Constitution requires a two-thirds vote of both houses of the legislature before public parkland can be converted to other uses. This vote, and the public debate it would require, has never happened. The BRA contends that it is not needed. A Superior Court judge disagreed.
The case, and the fate of Long Wharf Park, went on appeal before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC). Oral arguments were heard on November 5th, 2012. On March 15, 2013, the SJC ruled that, although urban-renewal land can be protected by Article 97, Long Wharf is not such a case. Thus, Article 97 does not protect Long Wharf. The case was then sent back to the Superior Court to decide the remaining part of the case: whether the license from the Department of Environmental Protection is valid.
The first hearing, a status conference, was held on May 7, 2013. The next hearing, which will be the first main hearing, will be on June 18, 2013 (Court Room 306, Three Pemberton Square, Boston, MA).
What you can do
Point your friends and family, including journalists (print, blog, television) to http://savelongwharfpark.org
Thanks to generous contributions, we have raised the legal-defense fund!
The legal proceedings have had three stages: an administrative appeal, a Superior Court lawsuit, and (pending) an appeal in the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The documents are extensive, and the most important are included at the following link.
In the media
The effort to save Long Wharf Park has been in the media frequently. See these links.
Frequently asked questions
Here are answers to frequently asked questions.