Greenway’s toll revenue
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State officials say they will continue to provide financial support this coming fiscal year for the privately run Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway in Boston, but the amount of aid is likely to drop.
The state this year is providing a total of $2.2 million in cash and in-kind contributions. Interestingly, the $1.8 million in cash is coming out of toll revenues from the Turnpike (only on the stretch from Route 128 east into Boston) and the Tobin Bridge.
“The state won’t shirk its responsibility,” Mullan said. “We’re not going to abandon the Greenway.”
Mullan says he views the Conservancy like a vendor in charge of maintaining a state asset and wants it to stabilize its costs. In fiscal 2010, which ran from July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010, the Conservancy raised nearly $4 million ($2.9 million from the state) and spent slightly more, ending the year with a $91,000 deficit, according to the nonprofit’s tax filing.
Salaries and employee benefits represented nearly half of the Conservancy’s costs in fiscal 2010. Nancy Brennan, the executive director, earned $189,905, according to the tax filing.
The Greenway Conservancy is exploring the creation of a Business Improvement District, which would raise revenues from businesses along the park to support the park’s operations. That process is in the early stages and likely won’t be completed until 2013.A spokesman for the Conservancy said the organization has a number of initiatives underway right now to attract more people to the park that snakes through downtown Boston, including doubling the number of food vendors, expanding the operations of the carousel, and launching an outdoor arts exhibition. The National Park Service and the Boston Harbor Island Alliance are also building a pavilion on the Greenway to serve as an information center for the harbor islands.
The other big issue with the Greenway is what to do with the on and off ramps from the highway running underneath the park. Under terms of the Big Dig permit, the ramps are supposed to be covered. But several nonprofit organizations, citing high construction costs, have abandoned plans to erect buildings over the ramps. Mullan says he is beginning to explore alternatives and reaching out to abutting communities to solicit their ideas.