Greenway should thrive on its own
Fiscal responsibility is requisite to maintaining a thriving metropolis, and to cultivating and showcasing an “international city,” wise investment is a necessity. However, in Boston, wise investment has been rather scarce and mismanagement plentiful when it comes to the Hub’s nascent jewel known as the Rose Kennedy Greenway. As the Herald’s Brooks Sutherland reports, the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy may receive a check from the city’s surplus fund to the tune of $5 million for maintenance in an endowment fund. Mayor Marty Walsh said the endowment funding would be “a part of ” the Greenway eventually becoming self-funded. “The community wanted it,” Walsh said. “Both the city and state have made investments in that Greenway. They have a board and a commission, and this is another step in them becoming self-sustainable.” It more appears to be a case of throwing good money after bad. The Herald has reported on the conservancy’s spending and lofty salaries dating to 2012, when it had seven employees making $90,000 or more, including its then $185,000-a-year director, and its payroll nearly topped $2 million. Last year, Conservancy officials said four made more than $90,000 in 2016, including director Jesse Brackenburry, who pulled in $210,000. The Greenway is an elegant geographical complement to the Esplanade and Olmstead’s Emerald Necklace, which extends over seven miles, culminating along the Commonwealth Avenue Mall to the Public Garden and Boston Common. It’s also an expensive patch of land, which was supposed to be self-sustaining years ago. In 2012, the Patrick administration ordered the Conservancy to come up with a plan to leave public funding within five years. Obviously, that didn’t work out. The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy must become a self-supported organization. The city of Boston’s surplus is not the city of Boston’s — it belongs to the taxpayer, and no more taxpayer dollars should find its way to the Greenway. If it is meant to be sustained as currently constituted, then a combination of private donations and proceeds from the various commercial endeavors held topside must do the trick.