The Friends of Prouty Garden just won’t quit. The group opposes Boston Children’s Hospital’s decision to demolish a beloved garden to make room for a $1 billion expansion, and is still trying to derail the project even though it was approved by the state and work is underway.
Lawyers for the group requested numerous public records, and they’ve uncovered an interesting tidbit: Governor Charlie Baker and Children’s chief executive Sandra Fenwick met in late August, while the Children’s project was under state review. Administration officials gave Baker a memo to brief him for the meeting, including three pages of details about the expansion. The memo noted that the project was in line for “anticipated” approval.
Gregor McGregor, a lawyer for the Prouty Garden supporters, said the meeting raises questions: Should the governor have met with Fenwick while the hospital’s project was under review? Was it appropriate for Baker and Fenwick to discuss the project?
The governor’s spokeswoman, Lizzy Guyton, said the meeting was arranged to discuss something far more dull: Medicaid reimbursement rates. (It’s not uncommon for the governor to talk to health care executives about such policy issues.) Guyton called the Friends’ concerns “completely baseless,” adding that “the approval process for the expansion of Boston Children’s Hospital was conducted thoroughly and transparently.”
Baker offered support for the hospital project when questioned by the Globe in October. A few days later, state health officials approved the project, with conditions.
Children’s spokesman Rob Graham said the hospital has adhered to all regulations around the approval process, and dismissed “any suggestion to the contrary.”
Children’s is pushing forward with its project. Opponents are still fighting their long-shot case against the hospital in court. — PRIYANKA DAYAL MCCLUSKEY