The Globe got it right in its April 28 editorial “Baker should put the brakes on Daly Field plan.” Daly Field is 7 acres of valuable public parkland along the Charles River. It’s understandable Simmons College wants to build a new athletic center on such a site. But should Simmons get this public land for free? The school would pay no rent to the state for 30 years.
The state is making severe budget cuts. Many state parks are in disrepair and cannot be maintained. Is the answer to give public trust parkland away? Simmons argues that it would pay to improve and maintain the fields. Thank you. But the school could do that elsewhere — except then it would have to pay for the land.
Brighton High School football and local Little League will also use the fields. While Simmons contends the fields will also be open to the public, the college would be using them most of the time during the academic year.
The kids and the neighborhood should have a great field. We have offered to work with the Department of Conservation and Recreation to accomplish this. Giving public parkland to Simmons for free is too generous a gift by taxpayers.
In an April 30 letter, “Critique of Daly Field plan leaves out key details,” Simmons misleadingly suggests we signed a settlement agreement supporting the project. We know we did not. We settled one particular waterways license and agreed not to judicially or administratively appeal other permits in return for moving a scoreboard out of tidelands and using permeable material for a path along the river. For this Simmons wanted a gag order preventing us from opposing the overall project. We respectfully declined.