click here to view the notice of project change (NPC) in its entirety.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 2ND, 2015
GARDEN SUPPORTERS PETITION STATE FOR FURTHER ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT REVIEW OF BOSTON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL EXPANSION
Group Contends BCH at Least Inadvertently Concealed Terms of Prouty Garden Gift, Requests Project Reconfiguration
BOSTON (Sept. 2, 2015) - Friends of the Prouty Garden, the group of individuals dedicated to the preservation of the historic garden at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH), today announced that it has formally requested that the Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EOEEA) require a Notice of Project Change (NPC) on BCH’s Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for its proposed expansion.
The group takes the position that BCH “at least inadvertently” concealed the terms of Olive Higgins Prouty's gift during their project’s environmental impact review under the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA). At the very least, the hospital failed to disclose that one of the terms of the gift by Olive Prouty (1887-1974) was that the Prouty Garden would be perpetually maintained in its current location. The group asks the Secretary to require the hospital undergo further MEPA review once the project is reconfigured to preserve the Prouty Garden.
“Olive Higgins Prouty gifted the Garden to the hospital under specific promises of perpetual maintenance from then-President William Wolbach, despite her concerns about the memorial to her children being, in her words, ‘wiped out,’” said Gus Murby, key member of Friends of the Prouty Garden, and father of a former BCH patient. “We want to make sure the environmental affairs office takes this into consideration.”
In addition, the petition argues that the project has changed since the Secretary’s Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) certificate was issued. In the FEIR, BCH said that it would try to keep the “spirit” of Prouty Garden alive (FEIR, p. 5-42). The fragmented “green and gathering spaces” now proposed by BCH are not nearly equivalent to Prouty Garden and so are insufficient to keep the “spirit” of Prouty Garden alive. Whether indoor or outside, “gathering spaces” are nothing more than places where people congregate and are hardly places of healing.
In 2013, Prouty Garden supporters started a public petition on Change.org that has now been signed by nearly 12,000 people from every state and many countries around the world beseeching the hospital to spare the beloved Prouty Garden. Accompanying those signatures are over 250 pages of personal statements attesting to the importance and healing impact of Prouty Garden over the years. Thus far, the hospital has been largely unresponsive to calls from members of the public to preserve the Prouty Garden.
About Friends of the Prouty Garden
Friends of the Prouty Garden is a concerned group of patients, families, health care staff, donors, environmentalists, historians, and community members who have come together in support of our common goal to save the Prouty Garden at Boston Children’s Hospital from demolition and to preserve it in its full integrity and in perpetuity. We fully support and agree with the hospital’s goal of modernization and expansion of its facilities. However, we urge reconsideration of alternative building sites that allow the hospital to uphold Olive Higgins Prouty’s charitable trust and will, and honor the expressed needs of patients and families. We believe the Prouty Garden is a vitally integral part of what makes BCH the unique entity that it is. Boston Children’s Hospital cannot afford to lose it.