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greenway-2017MassDOT, City of Boston, A Better City, and the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy today announced a public-private partnership to provide financial support for the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway in Boston.

MassDOT and the Greenway Conservancy will enter into a new long-term lease and subsidy agreement, the City of Boston has agreed to establish a Greenway support fund to be capitalized with anticipated proceeds from the sale of the Winthrop Square Garage, and A Better City has agreed to lead an effort to organize major property owners to establish a Business Improvement District (BID) to provide financial support for upkeep and maintenance of the park.

“We are proud to announce a sustainable and equitable public-private partnership to support the Greenway in collaboration with the City of Boston, the Conservancy and its abutting neighbors,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack.  “This arrangement will ensure a responsible and fair financial structure in which MassDOT is one of a group of funding partners supporting the Greenway’s nationally renowned parks.”

Mayor Marty Walsh added, “The Rose Kennedy Greenway is an important asset to residents and visitors alike. Whether people need a place to cool off, sit down amongst gardens, grab a bite to eat from a food truck, or just pass through on their way to the office, 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 costs to reflect the reduction in MassDOT funding during the transition period to the new public-private partnership arrangement.

Under the public-private partnership funding arrangement, 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.  The process of developing the initial BID framework included months of engagement by A Better City and its abutter members with public partners, investors, tenants and other private stakeholders. A Better City will now begin the process of determining the specific details of the BID plan, including boundary lines, a management plan, and a formula for individual contributions, taking into account all feedback from abutters.

Once fully established, the BID will provide $1 million annually to the Conservancy for basic operations, maintenance and horticulture, effectively matching the public sector’s obligations for maintenance of the Greenway. In addition, the abutter community has pledged an extra $500,000 annually for BID-directed enhancements to the Greenway, beginning in Fiscal Year 2020.  This BID plan will need to be approved by the Boston City Council.

“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. “This partnership reflects the Greenway’s role as both a vibrant public space and key economic development asset by sharing responsibility among MassDOT, the City of Boston, the Conservancy, and the business community and ensuring all parties have a voice in the park’s future. As this process continues, A Better City looks forward to working with all abutting properties on this effort.”

“The leadership shown by all parties has put the Greenway on a firm footing,” said Conservancy Executive Director Jesse Brackenbury. “With the foundational support assured, the Conservancy can continue to deliver an exceptional public park. We now have the stability to engage philanthropists and innovative partners in continuing to improve the Greenway over the long-term.”

State Senator Joseph Boncore, whose district includes the Greenway, 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.  This agreement represents an equitable public-private partnership while also assuring the long-term financial stability of the park.”

State Representative Aaron Michlewitz, whose district includes the Greenway, 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. With this agreement we are not only acknowledging how vital the Greenway has become, but we are setting it up for future success. I thank all the parties involved for their hard work and commitment to resolving this.”

The Greenway was created as a signature park by the Central Artery/Tunnel Project and has been managed since opening by the Conservancy and funded by MassDOT.

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