Greenway Conservancy scaling back

With public funding uncertain, the private group preparing to take over management of the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway is paring back its budget as well as its ambitious plans for the Big Dig park that snakes through downtown Boston.

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Officials with the Greenway Conservancy now say their annual budget will be roughly $5 million, about 42 percent less than the $8.6 million they were forecasting last summer. The staff size is also being scaled back, from 30 employees to between 18 and 20. Steve Anderson, director of park operations, said he will oversee a staff of seven plus outside contractors. Earlier plans called for as many as 21 employees.

"We'll be doing more with less," said Nancy Brennan, executive director of the Greenway Conservancy, at a meeting of the group today.

Peter Meade, chairman of the Greenway Conservancy board, said he hoped to have a signed lease from the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority next month. The authority owns the Greenway and had been directed by legislation to turn the park over to the conservancy last month. The negotiations have dragged on amid concerns about the Greenway Conservancy's financial status as well as uncertainties about the future of the authority. Gov. Deval Patrick has proposed shutting down the Turnpike Authority and turning its responsibilities and debts over to other agencies.

Photo by Frank Curran

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