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Panel Says Beloved Garden At Children's Hospital Can Be Bulldozed

The Prouty Garden has won national acclaim. It has fountains, pine trees and birches, and a 65-foot dawn redwood tree, pictured here. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
The Prouty Garden has won national acclaim. It has fountains, pine trees and birches, and a 65-foot dawn redwood tree, pictured here. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Andrew Ryan of The Boston Globe reports here:

Prouty Garden, long a refuge at Boston Children’s Hospital for ailing youngsters and their families, can be bulldozed to make way for an expansion that includes a new neonatal intensive-care unit after a key city commission voted Tuesday night to reject pleas to protect the space as a landmark.

After an emotional hour of public comment, the Boston Landmarks Commission voted 7 to 1 to deny landmark status, effectively allowing the hospital expansion to proceed. Commissioners acknowledged they had grappled to find the greater good in a dispute in which the goal of both sides was to heal and comfort sick children.

The "Save Prouty Garden" Facebook page confirms that report here. WBUR's Deborah Becker and Lynn Jolicoeur reported on the long-running fight over the garden's fate back in 2013 here. The report begins:

Noise from traffic, construction and sirens dominates this neighborhood of some of the nation’s premier hospitals — but not in one spot tucked among the buildings of Boston Children’s Hospital.

The space many refer to as an oasis is called Prouty Garden, a half acre of grass, mature trees, flowers and fountains. It’s been a sanctuary for stressed families, sick children and hospital staff since 1956, when a patron created and endowed it. A Scientific American article last year called it “one of the most successful hospital gardens in the country.” That same article quotes research showing the benefits of hospital gardens in reducing anxiety, pain and blood pressure.

But now, citing a desperate need to expand, Children’s Hospital has developed plans to build a 10-story, 500,000-square-foot building on the site of the garden. The decision is not final. But many patients’ families are distraught.

The Globe reports that Anne Gamble, who led the charge to preserve the garden, said after the Tuesday evening vote that she "needed time to consider the next course of action."

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