Overhanging this week’s annual meeting of the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway Conservancy was the looming November 30, 2013 expiration of the non-profit’s lease of the Greenway parks. Board Chair Georgia Murray announced that MassDOT, the State agency and parkland owner, has not yet engaged in negotiations with the Conservancy regarding an extension or renewal. It has been five years since the enabling State legislation turned over management of the Greenway to the Conservancy.
The ramifications are not clear for the Greenway and the Conservancy if the lease is not renewed by the November 30th deadline. In addition to providing the lease, MassDOT significantly funds the Conservancy having provided $2.1 million in fiscal year 2013 of government support out of a total revenue base of $5.8 million. Murray said that updated plans will be discussed at the November meeting. The Conservancy has been without an Executive Director for most of the past year and no search will be started until the lease issue is resolved.
Outside the lease renewal, the bulk of the annual meeting was a review of the audit, procurement policies and general updates on programs and projects such as the new mural and carousel park. The board also discussed creating a funding plan for capital improvements as the parks age over time.
A significant discussion at the meeting was the future of Parcel 12, the empty ramp parcel in the North End. Once designated for the now defunct Boston Museum, one board member suggested an “international competition” for “something big” although not necessarily a development. “The conversation has turned away from having buildings on the Greenway,” said Murray, emphasizing the balance of the Greenway as a “best in class” destination as well as a community park. Conservancy staff noted that short-term options could be experimented with as part of the process toward a more permanent plan. A chorus of comments by North End residents was heard regarding the need for planning and public process regarding this space.
Video Timeline for the RFKGC Annual Meeting, October 8, 2013:
- 00:00 FY13 Financials and Audit
- 15:50 Board Nominations
- 20:10 Procurement policy issues
- 33:30 General Greenway Updates
- 1:05:30 Parcel 12 (North End Parks)
- 1:34:10 Greenway Lease Renewal with MassDOT