Mayor Walsh, MassDOT, A Better City representing Greenway abutters, and the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy announced the establishment of a Greenway Business Improvement District (BID) following approval of the petition by Boston City Council today.
The BID designation allows for the implementation of a sustainable, long-term foundational funding plan for the Rose Kennedy Greenway in the spirit of shared responsibility between both public and private sectors.
The Greenway BID will contribute $1.5 million to The Greenway each year. With support from Mayor Walsh, it is poised to become the second BID in Boston and the seventh in Massachusetts when signed into law in the upcoming days.
“The Greenway is a beloved open space in the center of our city, providing a place for families and visitors to gather year-round; and our community stepped up to keep it that way,” said Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh.
“The City Council’s public process revealed how deeply Bostonians from all backgrounds treasure the Rose Kennedy Greenway and respect the Greenway Conservancy’s stewardship of the park. Establishing a BID will add stability to the Conservancy’s funding and will support even greater leadership from the Greenway in equitable access to cultural programming, beautiful open space, and vibrant place-making.” – Boston City Councilor Michelle Wu
“This is an important day for the Rose Kennedy Greenway,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “The vote by the Boston City Council sets the Greenway on a path to being financially sustainable and allows MassDOT to focus on capital needs in the future.
“The establishment of a BID is an important next step in the history of the Greenway,” said A Better City President and CEO Richard A. Dimino. “We are deeply grateful to the Greenway property owners who stepped up and worked diligently to make the vision of shared responsibility a reality, and for the engagement and support of the Boston City Council, particularly Councilors Wu, Edwards, and Flynn.”
“The Rose Kennedy Greenway plays a vital role as an accessible signature park that brings people together. The Greenway Business Improvement District will create a strong foundation for funding; the BID, in tandem with the continued generosity of our members and donors, will help ensure that we continue to serve the community through programming, public art, and outstanding park care.” – Rose Kennedy Greenway Executive Director Jesse Brackenbury
How does a Business Improvement District work?
A Business Improvement District is governed under Massachusetts General Law as a district in which property owners vote to finance supplemental services or enhancements for public spaces. Before reaching a city council or other local governing board, a BID effort must generate support from at least 60% of property owners representing at least 51% of the total asset value within a proposed BID district. The Greenway BID exceeded these legal thresholds by a significant margin, securing support of 82% of owners representing 89% of total asset value.
A Better City led a comprehensive BID outreach campaign that included close to two dozen meetings with a standing Abutter Committee and individual outreach to each of the 61 owners representing the 50 buildings within the BID district. Over the course of the campaign, A Better City and its abutter partners also drew BID boundary lines, developed a BID Management Plan and funding formula, and fundraised for BID start-up costs.
The initiation of a BID campaign came together through a June 2017 memorandum of understanding facilitated by public sector leaders and A Better City representing the abutter community. That agreement also put in place a framework for contributions to support the Greenway from MassDOT, the City of Boston, and The Conservancy, whose own-source revenue will continue to make up a majority of future Greenway funds.
Once Mayor Walsh signs the BID into law, assessments will be collected from property owners as part of routine property tax collection beginning in July 2018.