Written By Mayor Martin J. Walsh
This month, I am proud to put forth a budget for the City of Boston that will make Boston a better place to work, live, and raise a family. At City Hall, we’ve created a plan for our City that will keep Boston financially sound, while making targeted investments towards achieving a thriving, healthy and innovative Boston. Boston’s operating budget totals $3.14 billion, which represents an increase of $143.7 million (or about five percent) over last year’s budget.
What does this mean for you, your friends and family? When we proposed the City’s budget, we did so knowing many in our City rely on the services we provide, whether it’s senior luncheons, homebuying workshops, recovery services or after-school programs for kids. We also funded projects to enhance our culture and identity such as increasing library services in neighborhoods and the Boston’s Artist in Residence program, which brings art to unexpected corners throughout Boston. Our budget continues to invest in Boston’s strongest asset: our people.
The City’s budget is big — that’s why I want to explain how it will affect your neighborhood.
We know what an asset the BCYF Curley Community Center is to the South Boston community. So in fiscal year 2018, we’re launching a major renovation to the center. The building, which spans just under a quarter mile on the South Boston beachfront, needs a major change to its outdated layout. A study for the project will launch this year to begin the $15 million project.
Parks and open space are another area of major investment. A $2 million park renovation is slated for the Medal of Honor Park and Lee Playground for lawn improvements, pathways and infrastructure upgrades as well as new play equipment.
In honor of Martin Richard, Martin’s Park will also be created using a $1.5 million investment from the City, along with state funds and private donations. It will be a universally accessible park and playground located near the Children’s Museum in the Seaport District.
Soon, construction will begin on a $715,000 project to improve Flaherty Park featuring a play lot, pathways and passive areas. A $150,00 investment this year will lead to the development of a Moakley Park Master Plan that will determine the optimal use of space within the whole park.
The South Boston Branch Library is getting a huge makeover with a $100,000 investment in fiscal year 2018 for landscaping and exterior improvement to make the backyard usable and accessible. Summer Street is also getting a major facelift with a $1.4 million investment that will leverage $6 million of state funds for reconstruction between the Fort Point channel to Boston Wharf Road. Improvements include reworked roadways, sidewalks, new street lighting and a new cycle track. The Northern Avenue Bridge project will also benefit from a new design and engineering work through a $1.5 million investment in FY18.
It’s our goal that our local improvements tie in to our ultimate goal of improving the safety, accessibility and sustainability of our city while also making it an enjoyable and affordable place to live and work. The short and long term investments are intended to lift up our neighborhoods in ways that take into account the needs and wants of the community. With this budget, we’re preparing our city for the next year, and the years forward.
What’s the next step for the budget? This month, I submitted the City of Boston’s budget to the Boston City Council, where your City Councilor will review the proposed budget. Once the budget is approved, it will go into effect. This is the budget for fiscal year 2018, meaning the budget will take effect in July 2017, and run throughout the next 12 months.
I hope you’ll take a few minutes to look through the budget proposal, online at budget.boston.gov. Together, I look forward to investing in our neighborhoods, and our people.