The campaign to create a Greenway Business Improvement District (BID) is officially underway! For the last ten months, A Better City's Greenway Abutters Committee collaborated with the Greenway Conservancy, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and the City of Boston to develop a long-term sustainable funding structure for the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Establishing a BID is the key mechanism in this four-party arrangement that is modeled on shared responsibility of this special area. This partnership will ultimately help to fulfil the original promise of the Greenway and ensure it continues to be a first class urban park for the foreseeable future.
Creating a BID is a difficult. There are multiple steps required by Massachusetts state law that culminate in a vote of the Boston City Council. A Better City and the Abutters Committee, with support from John Rattigan and Mark Tang from DLA Piper, prepared the legal documents and enabling forms for the Greenway BID’s purpose, boundary lines, fee structure, and many other details. With those now in place, we are now asking the owners of properties located inside the Greenway BID boundary to sign letters of support to create the BID.
If 60% of these property owners endorse the BID plan, and these supportive owners represent more than 50% of the assessed value in the Greenway district, we can submit this as a petition to the Boston City Council. If successful at City Council, the Greenway BID would exist through 2023 and become the only the second BID in Boston, after the Downtown BID. It would be the sixth active BID in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The Greenway BID is necessary to close a funding gap for Greenway’s maintenance and operations expenses. These Greenway abutters would be agreeing to collectively contribute approximately $1.5 million per year, with $1 million dedicated to Greenway maintenance and horticulture costs and $500,000 set aside for park enhancements. However, BID assessments would only apply to properties with a current assessed value greater than $10 million, as determined by the City of Boston Assessing Department. Small businesses, non-profits, and City of Boston residents in condominiums exempt from these BID fees. The Greenway BID Boundary is also drawn to include future development projects within the corridor, but these sites would only pay BID fees only when they exceed $10 million in value.
While not everyone will pay these BID assessments, the benefits of a vibrant Greenway are realized by City residents, workers, tourists, as well as all business in the downtown Boston area. For this reason, we need to give credit and praise to the leaders on the Abutters Committee who understand the Greenway is a vital asset as a superb public space and economic driver Boston. These property owners in Boston are supporting this BID campaign because they also see the value in a successful Greenway. They are looking forward to offering a strong voice in the future governance of the Greenway and providing a greater level input over the character and quality of these17 acres of urban parks.
Finally, A Better City is excited by our role in this Greenway BID campaign. A Better City as an organization has had a long and constructive influence on the Greenway, including helping shape its initial master plan and design. The very founding of A Better City is rooted in the need to preserve, protect, and enhance the park. The full board, Executive Committee, and Greenway Abutters Committee proudly has invested time, money, design, planning and political capital in ensuring that the Central Artery/Tunnel project and Rose Kennedy Greenway be optimized. Creating the Greenway BID is the next chapter in this effort and perfectly aligned with our mission to securing a brighter future for downtown Boston.
We look forward to seeing the Greenway BID approved and will continue mobilizing support from property owners along the Greenway corridor for this plan.
Authored by: Tom Ryan, Direcot of Public Policy & Gov. Affairs