The Esplanade Association took a look back at its achievements from 2018 and plans for this year during its annual meeting on Tuesday, April 2, at the Park Plaza Hotel.
Michael Nichols, executive director, reported the nonprofit raised an unprecedented $2 million last year in donations, with a record 60 percent of the proceeds going directly back into the park.
“The numbers are very fluid and change from year to year,” he said, adding that the figure jumped from 47 percent the previous year. “This is a trend we hope to continue over the course of time.”
Kelsey Pramik, director of programs and outreach, detailed some of last year’s programming highlights, including “Jazz Along the Charles,” which attracted 10,000 spectators to enjoy 25 jazz ensembles during an afternoon event hosted by the Celebrity Series of Boston; “Groundbeat: The Esplanade’s Free Riverfront Music Series”; “Children in the Park”: the launch of its Guided Tour program; and the popular outdoor fitness series, which went year-round with the launch of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Polar last winter.
Other new initiatives in 2018 included the installation of six Welcome Kiosks at park entrances (and there are plans for three more to come as part of upcoming projects) to provide visitors with maps and additional information on the park; the restoration of Lotta Fountain; and the opening of the Owl’s Nest beer garden in partnership with Everett’s Night Shift Brewing. (At the meeting, Leo Roy, commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Recreation, confirmed that the beer garden, which Nichols said provides a “critical funding source” for DCR and EA, would be returning to the park again this summer.)
Also, last year, EA released its “first-of-a-kind” Tree Care Management and Succession Plan to look at and tend to the existing canopy of the park’s 1,700 trees.
“We’re getting to the critical point where we’re seeing a decline in the tree canopy,” Nichols said. “We’re going to look at how to remove dead and dying trees, replanting and getting the canopy ready for years to come.”
Meanwhile, Nichols said the Esplanade is in the running in a contest sponsored by the American Association of Endodontists (AAE) for “natural landmarks worth saving” and encouraged those in attendance to cast their ballots for the park online at www.aae.org/landmarks.