Community Government

Councilors LaMattina and Linehan File for Hearing to Increase Parks Budget With Development Funding

City Councilors Sal LaMattina and Bill Linehan have proposed using the current Boston building boom to increase funding for the city’s ailing parks system. The program would work similar to the Inclusionary Development Program (IDP). The IDP sets aside 13% of units for affordable housing in new developments or builders contribute 15% of the total project toward a fund for such purposes. While no set formula has been determined yet, the Councilors have mentioned 3% for the proposed Parks Fund in recent neighborhood meetings. The order for a hearing is shown below. No date has been scheduled as of this writing.

Offered by Councilors Salvatore LaMattina and Bill Linehan

CITY OF BOSTON IN CITY COUNCIL

ORDER FOR A HEARING REGARDING FUNDS FOR PARKS DEVELOPMENT AND REDEVELOPMENT

WHEREAS: the City of Boston Parks & Recreation Department maintains and oversees access to more than 2,200 acres of park land throughout the city, including the Emerald Necklace, the Urban Wilds, two golf courses, and numerous historic burying grounds and cemeteries; and

WHEREAS: the City of Boston Parks & Recreation has an FY13 operating budget of $16.8 million; and

WHEREAS: the Mayor stated on March 25th that he expects nearly $5 billion in development to break ground in 2013; and

WHEREAS: several important municipal services garner direct funding allocations from private development and other dedicated revenue streams, such as affordable housing through linkage and the Inclusionary Development Program as well as transportation improvements and public art installations obtained through mitigation agreements; and

WHEREAS: Boston boasts America’s oldest park – Boston Common – and numerous public spaces that are revered for their importance to the quality of life for residents and visitors alike; and

WHEREAS: Boston’s natural beauty persists thanks to a proactive parks community who invest significant time and resources while coordinating park advocacy through countless associations, fundraisers, and friends groups; and

WHEREAS: funding for parks and recreation is often put in jeopardy when strains are placed on revenues derived from local, state and federal sources; and

WHEREAS: continued investment in park maintenance and redevelopment is vital to promoting physical activity and healthy lifestyles, supporting community development, enhancing residential property values, respecting Constitutional speech and assembly rights, attracting commercial investment, and heightening social and environmental benefits; and

WHEREAS: identifying as many sources of funds for our City’s parks system as possible is vital to the future enjoyment of these important public assets and is a main driver of continuing Boston’s positive population growth momentum; NOW,

THEREFORE BE IT ORDERED,

That the appropriate committee of the Boston City Council holds a hearing regarding the potential development of dedicating funding for parks development and redevelopment in the City of Boston.

THEREFORE BE IT FURTHER ORDERED,

That representatives from the following departments and the public be invited to testify: Boston Redevelopment Authority, Parks and Recreation Department, and Office of Budget Management.

Filed on: May 1, 2013

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