By Phil Orlandella
A highly welcomed private-public partnership to provide financial support for the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway that draws thousands of visitors and residents from abutting neighborhoods in the general area has been officially announced.
One of the most popular places to be in the City, The Greenway, has something good going on for all ages throughout the year.
The long-term, public-private partnership, organized by MassDOT, City of Boston, A Better City, and the Conservancy, has agreed to support funding to be capitalized with anticipated proceeds from the sale of the Winthrop Square Garage, and A Better City to lead an effort to organize major property owners to establish a Business Improvement District (BID) providing financial support for the upkeep and maintenance of the parks.
The partnership comes on the heels of the major state funding slash for the Greenway.
Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack noted in a press release, “This arrangement will ensure a responsible and fair structure in which MassDOT is one of a group of funding partners supporting The Greenway’s nationally renowned park.”
Mayor Martin J Walsh, also in a press release said, “The Rose Kennedy Greenway is an important asset to residents and visitors alike and it’s critical that we all work together to ensure that we maintain this unique and vibrant green space for generations to come.”
Under the new public-private partnership, MassDOT will extend the lease of the Greenway to the Conservancy for a new 10-year term and simultaneously enter into a 6-year funding agreement that reduces MassDOT’s contribution of operating funds to the Conservancy over time while also investing capital dollars in Greenway assets as they age.
Under the new 10-year lease, the Greenway Conservancy commits to continue to operate the Greenway as a “first-class” public park while managing current operating cost to reflect the reduction in MassDOT funding during the transition. To the new public-private partnership agreement.
Under the public-private partnership funding agreement, the City of Boston has agreed to establish a City-held fund with $5 million from the sale of 115 Federal Street, (the Winthrop Square garage site), to benefit the Greenway. This proposed fund requires the passage of state legislation to allow the redevelopment of 115 Federal Street to move forward and is subject to the approval of the Boston City Council. Once established, all income from the fund would go to the Conservancy to support Greenway operations, maintenance and capital repairs.
A Better City will lead the effort to create a Business Improvement District (BID), so that certain properties can contribute Directly toward preserving, protecting and enhancing the Greenway.
Once fully established, the BID will provide $1 million annually to the Conservancy for basic operations, maintenance and horticultural, effectively matching the public sector’s obligations for maintenance of the Greenway.
“In the spirit of commitment to the future of downtown Boston and the waterfront, A Better City is proud to take the first step in the BID process toward the goal of creating a structured and stable financing model for the Greenway.” Said Richard A. Dimino, President and CEO of A Better City.
“Leadership shown by all parties has put The Greenway on a firm footing,” said Conservancy Executive Director Jesse Brackenbury.
State Senator Joseph Boncore said, “The Rose Kennedy Greenway has established itself as a gem of the Commonwealth. Since its establishment, the park has been an economic boon to the district and the City of Boston as a whole.”
State Representative Aaron Michlewitz added, “Creating a long-term structure for the Greenway to maintain its growth is vitally important to my district, the entire City of Boston and the Commonwealth as a whole.”