Lawsuit Filed to Save Prouty Garden


Lawsuit Filed to Save Prouty Garden

Lawsuit Filed to Save Prouty Garden
May 06, 2016
Prouty Garden in 2011 - Photo by Katie Charbonneau

Efforts to save the historic Prouty Garden at Boston Children’s Hospital have now moved into the courtroom. A group of patients, doctors, and parents, all associated with Friends of the Prouty Garden, has filed a lawsuit to halt the garden’s impending destruction.

The lawsuit represents the latest effort to safeguard the exemplary outdoor healing space designed by Olmsted Brothers and completed by landscape architects Shurcliff and Merrill. In April 2015, the Boston Landmarks Commission ruled against granting landmark status to the garden, which the hospital plans to replace with an eleven-story building housing a neonatal care unit and other facilities.          

As TCLF noted in an earlier update, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), the state agency whose approval is necessary for the expansion to move forward, instructed the Boston Children’s Hospital in February to provide a third-party cost analysis of its $1 billion plans for the new facilities. The analysis is required in order for the DPH to make an official Determination of Need—a regulatory measure meant to control the cost of health care. An overflow crowd attended a hearing before the DPH on February 25, 2016, where, according to the Boston Globe, hospital executives defended the planned expansion as a necessary step to alleviate cramped conditions and aging facilities. Opponents claim, however, that suitable alternatives to the expansion have not been adequately considered. Public health officials at the hearing offered no comment.

The recent lawsuit, which names both the Boston Children’s Hospital and the DPH, alleges that the hospital’s construction and fundraising activities prematurely commenced before the Determination of Need was considered, and thus were in violation of state law. Attorneys seeking an injunction to halt the work made their case on May 3 in front of Suffolk Superior Court Justice Kenneth Salinger, who has yet to issue a ruling.

Boston Children’s Hospital announced its plans to remove the Prouty Garden in 2012, and TCLF added the garden to its Landslide program in 2013.