• 'Myrtle the Turtle' sculpture a hot-button issue for Beacon Hill parents

    By: Drew Karedes

    Updated:

    BOSTON - Is the newest addition to a Beacon Hill playground posing a danger to children? 

    That's what some parents believe, and they want to say goodbye to the new "Myrtle the Turtle" sculpture. 

    The four-foot-long sculpture has made quite the impression since it’s installation just a few weeks ago. But now it’s completely covered up after several complaints of children being burned by touching it.

    "Kids were all very excited about the new turtle and they went to touch it," said Jackie Jowett, a mother in Beacon Hill. 

    Jowett is one of the moms who told Boston 25 News that the bronze turtle is bringing an unforeseen problem to Myrtle Street Park. That problem has been growing with the rising temperatures as it absorbs heat from the sun.

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    "They think it's a toy," Jowett said. "It's hard to keep the kids away from the turtle. There's nothing to prevent them from running into it."

    Several complaints posted to the city's 311 app echo similar concerns. One report, featuring a photo of a child says:

    My 5-year-old son burned his finger on the turtle this morning. Zoom in you can see the agony in his face. This turtle is a liability on a playground. Please remove.

    Another complaint shows a temperature scanner near the shell sitting at 133.7 degrees. With that photo is a simple message:

    Kids are getting burned. It is dangerous and should not be in a playground.

    "If you see a cute brass turtle you're going to run toward it," Beacon Hill mother Brooke Cochran said of children. "And even if you say it's hot, they're still going to want to touch."

    The "Myrtle the Turtle" sculpture, worth tens of thousands of dollars, was funded by the Beacon Hill Garden Club and donated to the city.

    It is named not just after the street where the park is located, but also the 560-pound green sea turtle that’s called the New England Aquarium home since 1970.

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    Amidst calls to find the sculpture a new home, the city says it's weighing all options.

    Boston Parks and Rec are currently evaluating the turtle’s temperatures at different times throughout the day.

    A department spokesman told Boston 25 that the statue will likely be moved out of the park in the coming days while the city figures out if it'd be best to install a canopy over it or just move it someplace else.

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