Charles River Esplanade Leading in National Preservation Contest

A piece of Boston is involved in yet another contest, but this time it’s not football, baseball, or the marathon. The Charles River Esplanade is one of four national landmarks in a contest started by the American Association of Endodontists in an effort to recognize the importance of natural preservation.

The Esplanade is up against the Chicago River, Phil Hardberger Park in San Antonio, Texas, and the Wissahickon Valley Park in Philadelphia. At press time, the Esplanade was tied for the lead with the Wissahickon Valley Park at 41 percent of the vote. “The landmark with the most votes will receive $20,000 to their preservation fund, $30,000 in free endodontic services for their city, and, most importantly—bragging rights,” according to a press release from the Esplanade Association. People can vote once per device until April 24.

The Esplanade boasts 1,700 trees, 14 ornamental gardens, a number of historical monuments, and over five miles of running, walking, and biking pathways, the release states. The Hatch Memorial Shell also calls the Esplanade home.

Kelsey Pramik, Director of Programs and Outreach for the Esplanade Association, said that the organization has reached out to partner organizations as well as local city agencies in order too promote this contest to Bostonians. They are also running some ads on social media. “We’re doing as much as we can to raise awareness,” Pramik said.

The $20,000 prize money must be used for preservation, so Pramik said that if the Esplanade were to win the contest, the money would most likely be used for preserving the Esplanade’s 1,700 trees, as that is “one of the biggest project priorities coming into next year,” Pramik said. She said winning the contest would be a “huge boost” to the tree care plan, which they have already received Community Preservation Act funding for. The prize money would “get us even closer to fully funded for the year,” Pramik said.

“We’re honored to have the Esplanade recognized as one of four landmarks nationally worth saving and worth investing in to ensure their continued vibrancy,” said Michael Nichols, Executive Director of the Esplanade Association, in the release. “Each of the four finalists play an important role in their communities and we’re hopeful that the people of New England will rally to support a landmark that continues to bring beauty, joy and year-round activity to daily life in Boston.”

Pramik added, “We hope everyone in Boston will help rally behind this vote and help push us into first place and we’re really excited to have been chosen.”

Visit aae.org/Landmarks through April 24 to cast your vote.

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