Boston City Council approves BID to contribute $1.5 million each year to sustain Boston’s green space

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Mayor Walsh

BOSTON, MA — Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, MassDOT, A Better City representing Greenway abutters, and the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy announce the establishment of a Greenway Business Improvement District (BID) thanks to the approval by the Boston City Council.

The BID designation allows for the implementation of a sustainable, long-term foundational funding plan for the Rose Kennedy Greenway in the spirit of shared responsibility between both public and private sectors.

The Greenway BID will contribute $1.5 million to The Greenway each year. With support from Mayor Walsh, it is poised to become the second BID in Boston and the seventh in Massachusetts when signed into law in the upcoming days.

Mayor Walsh

“The Greenway is a beloved open space in the center of our city, providing a place for families and visitors to gather year-round; and our community stepped up to keep it that way,” said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “Thank you to the Boston City Council, MassDOT, A Better City, The Conservancy and our private partners for working together to ensure this special space continues to be enjoyed for generations to come.”

“The City Council’s public process revealed how deeply Bostonians from all backgrounds treasure the Rose Kennedy Greenway and respect the Greenway Conservancy’s stewardship of the park,” said Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu. “Establishing a BID will add stability to the Conservancy’s funding and will support even greater leadership from the Greenway in equitable access to cultural programming, beautiful open space, and vibrant place-making.”

“This is an important day for the Rose Kennedy Greenway,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack.  “The vote by the Boston City Council sets the Greenway on a path to being financially sustainable and allows MassDOT to focus on capital needs in the future.  We would like to thank the Boston City Council, Mayor Walsh, A Better City and The Conservancy for collaborating with MassDOT to engage property owners and members of the business and non-profit sectors to reach this milestone today.”

“The establishment of a BID is an important next step in the history of the Greenway, an area transformed from an elevated highway into a jewel of a green space that has benefited the entire region,” said A Better City President and CEO Richard A. Dimino. “We are deeply grateful to the Greenway property owners who stepped up and worked diligently to make the vision of shared responsibility a reality, and for the engagement and support of the Boston City Council, particularly Councilors Wu, Edwards, and Flynn. The abutter community looks forward to continuing to work with the Council to preserve and enhance the Greenway in partnership with the City of Boston, MassDOT, and The Conservancy.”

“The Rose Kennedy Greenway plays a vital role as an accessible signature park that brings people together,” said Rose Kennedy Greenway Executive Director Jesse Brackenbury. “The Greenway Business Improvement District will create a strong foundation for funding; the BID, in tandem with the continued generosity of our members and donors, will help ensure that we continue to serve the community through programming, public art, and outstanding park care.”

A Business Improvement District is governed under Massachusetts General Law as a district in which property owners vote to finance supplemental services or enhancements for public spaces. Before reaching a city council or other local governing board, a BID effort must generate support from at least 60 percent of property owners representing at least 51 percent of the total asset value within a proposed BID district. The Greenway BID exceeded these legal thresholds by a significant margin, securing support of 82 percent of owners representing 89 percent of total asset value.

A Better City led a comprehensive BID outreach campaign that included close to two dozen meetings with a standing Abutter Committee and individual outreach to each of the 61 owners representing the 50 buildings within the BID district. Over the course of the campaign, A Better City and its abutter partners also drew BID boundary lines, developed a BID Management Plan and funding formula, and fund-raised for BID start-up costs.

The initiation of a BID campaign came together through a June 2017 memorandum of understanding facilitated by public sector leaders and A Better City representing the abutter community. That agreement also put in place a framework for contributions to support the Greenway from MassDOT, the City of Boston, and The Conservancy, whose own-source revenue will continue to make up a majority of future Greenway funds.

Once Mayor Walsh signs the BID into law, assessments will be collected from property owners as part of routine property tax collection beginning in July 2018.