The Greenway’s Neighbors Will Help Keep It Alive
In a win for the group that looks after the Rose Kennedy Greenway, neighbors to the park will be asked to chip in and help maintain it, to the tune of $1 million.
An new agreement after years of trying finally sets in motion a Business Improvement District, for which property owners around the lavishly landscaped, art-speckled strip of green will contribute a chunk of money for upkeep overseen by the nonprofit Greenway Conservancy. After 2020, the Business Improvement District will try to bump up the share contributed by abutters to $1.5 million. Twenty abutters have agreed to work with A Better City to form the pact. A required vote of those property owners is slated for late 2017 or early 2018.
The announcement comes as the Greenway, which came to life atop the site of the Big Dig, had faced an uncertain financial future. Gov. Charlie Baker has advocated for weaning the park off state tax dollars, and the latest one-year lease had been about to run out at the end of June.
Another deal reached this month earmarks a $5 million chunk of money from the proposed Winthrop Square skyscraper project, which would be placed in a trust that would generate $250,000 a year. Sale of the garage at that site and construction of the tower is still uncertain because it still needs the state Legislature to sign-off on a waiver that would let it cast a shadow on Boston Common.
As new money is flowing in, state funding is drying up. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation plans to cut back its share of the Greenway’s bills gradually from $2 million to $750,000 by 2020.
Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack cheered the news. “I think we finally have a long-term sustainable solution,” she said of the deal, according to the State House News Service. “For purposes of the negotiations we made it clear that if others didn’t step up I was prepared to zero it out, and I was.”
The Greenway also supports itself with more than $3 million in funds from donors and its slew of revenue-generating offering, which this summer include a beer garden and zip line.