Need to tap funding for Greenway is greater than ever

June 14, 2011

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PAUL MCMORROW’S June 10 op-ed column “Paying for the parks on Greenway’’ identified a crucial problem for the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway: The financial footing necessary to make the parks great and fulfill the dream of this positive legacy of the Central Artery project was never assured.

However, the last thing any of us associated with the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy thought was that “businesses would leap at the chance to throw money at the 15-acre park system.’’ To the contrary, we knew that we would have to make the case that bringing the Greenway from good to great would require an ongoing dialogue with businesses on the Greenway.

The need for a business improvement district is greater than ever, given the serious effects that the economic downturn has had on state funding and private giving, the only two other sources of revenue. The state funds basic maintenance. However, in order to achieve its potential, the Greenway needs more funding for enhanced horticulture, activation, and capital reserves.

We respect every dollar that supports the Greenway, and we use this money with great care. To say the Conservancy spends only “half of its annual budget on parks maintenance’’ gives an incomplete picture. Three-fourths of our spending directly supports park operations. Remaining funds are used for planning, administration, and fund-raising. Indeed, philanthropic gifts have allowed the Greenway to achieve the success that it enjoys.

All of us are benefiting from the Greenway. The commercial properties bordering the Greenway have increased in value. Our goal is to make the Greenway truly memorable, further enhancing the value for all.

Georgia Murray, Chairwoman, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy Board, Boston