By Mayor Martin J. Walsh
This month, I am proud to put forth a budget for the City of Boston that will make Boston a better place to work, live, and raise a family. At City Hall, we’ve created a plan for our City that will keep Boston financially sound, while making targeted investments towards achieving a thriving, healthy and innovative Boston. Boston’s operating budget totals $3.14 billion, which represents an increase of $143.7 million (or about five percent) over last year’s budget.
What does this mean for you, your friends and family? When we proposed the City’s budget, we did so knowing many in our City rely on the services we provide, whether it’s senior luncheons, homebuying workshops, recovery services or after-school programs for kids. We also funded projects to enhance our culture and identity such as increasing library services in neighborhoods and the Boston’s Artist in Residence program, which brings art to unexpected corners throughout Boston. Our budget continues to invest in Boston’s strongest asset: our people.
The City’s budget is big — that’s why I want to explain how it will affect your neighborhood.
Over the next two years, we’re working on finishing up the Eliot School construction projects. A new $23 million North Bennet Street building will welcome its first classes of 5th to 8th graders this fall to their new 21st century learning environment. The final phase of construction begins this summer at the Commercial Street building. Additional classrooms to support the Eliot School’s expansion as a K-8 school will be supported by the $24.6 million multi-year 585 Commercial Street project.
The North End is home to some of the most beautiful and historic parks in the City, so we’re investing $1.9 million to keep the historic Paul Revere Mall (Prado) a welcoming and exciting place for residents and visitors alike. Site furnishings, pathways, landscaping and utilities will all be updated or added. The gorgeous fountain and monument will also be restored to their former glory.
North Square is getting a $2.5 million redesign. The key junction of North Street, Sun Court, Moon Street, Garden Court and Prince Street will be redesigned, and will include some new public art to brighten up and modernize the area while keeping it’s old-world charm. $1.4 million is allocated for fiscal year 2018 for the reconstruction. The Christopher Columbus Park is also due for a $260,000 investment in the coming years.
Finally, we’re investing $100,000 in the North End Community Center. The funds will be used to develop a building program and assess siting options for the design and construction of a brand new community center.
It’s our goal that our local improvements tie in to our ultimate goal of improving the safety, accessibility and sustainability of our city while also making it an enjoyable and affordable place to live and work. The short and long term investments are intended to lift up our neighborhoods in ways that take into account the needs and wants of the community. With this budget, we’re preparing our city for the next year, and the years forward.
What’s the next step for the budget? This month, I submitted the City of Boston’s budget to the Boston City Council, where your City Councilor will review the proposed budget. Once the budget is approved, it will go into effect. This is the budget for fiscal year 2018, meaning the budget will take effect in July 2017, and run throughout the next 12 months.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to look through the budget proposal, online at budget.boston.gov. Together, I look forward to investing in our neighborhoods, and our people.
Cover photo: Mayor Walsh speaks at the 2017 Taste of the North End (NEWF photo)