Rose F. Kennedy Greenway Conservancy Executive Director, Jesse Brackenbury, updated the North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) on how the Conservancy’s recent lease renewal for the parks will impact the North End. He was introduced by NEWRA’s representative on the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway Conservancy Board, Robyn Reed, at their December 11, 2014 meeting.
The imminent two-year lease renewal for the Conservancy comes after several extensions once the initial five-year lease expired in 2013. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) owns the public parkland known as the Greenway that sits above the Big Dig I-93 highway tunnel.
From a financial standpoint, the new two-year lease will continue level funding of ~40% of the Conservancy’s total budget, according to Brackenbury. Of the Fiscal Year 2015 budget, MassDOT will fund $2.1 million, including in-kind support. The shorter term of the new lease will allow State funding to continue until the next Governor comes into office.
As part of the lease extension, the Conservancy is taking on 13 new strips of land totaling 1.3 acres on the periphery of the main parks. Six of the 13 new areas are in or around the North End. The Conservancy will also take on some new plots in Dewey Square, the Leather District and Chinatown.
In the North End, one new parcel to be managed by the Conservancy is the lawn area in front of the Tunnel Administration Building (128 North Street) at the corner of Cross and North Streets. In addition, Parcel 2, the triangular plot, between Valenti Way and N. Washington Street will also be transferred to Conservancy management. Initial plans for these areas include organic horticulture, landscaping as well as improving irrigation and tree work.
Michael Nichols was introduced and spoke at the meeting in a new Community Affairs and Special Projects role for the Conservancy. He will be attending future neighborhood meetings and a primary liaison for the community. Additionally, there are two park rangers, Trina and Omar, now working on the Greenway to enforce its policies and act as ambassadors for visitors.
Another significant personnel change at the Conservancy is the departure of Linda Jonash, Director of Design, after 10 years with the non-profit. A new addition is public art curator, Lucas Cowan, formerly at Chicago’s Millennium Park. He has been hired to continue arts programming in the parks.
Please view the above video for the complete discussion on the Rose F. Kennedy Greenway parks.