Funds stalled for Arborway fence

December 19, 2008
By

DAVID TABER

PONDSIDE—The Arborway Coalition was supposed to find out Nov. 14 if it had won state funding to replace a 10-foot-high, 400-foot-long chain link fence on the median of the Arborway with 4-foot-tall steel picket version.

But now, a month after that deadline state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has still not announced the recipients of $1.5 million in grant funding it is supposed to allocate through its Office of Public Private Partnership (PPP).

The grant program requires recipients to raise part of capital for proposed projects, and Arborway Coalition head Sarah Freeman said she has already collected pledges and a few checks for about $8,000 of the $13,000 the coalition proposes to put up for the project. Those donations have mostly come from non-profits and community groups, she said, but the coalition will soon begin asking individuals to contribute.

“Outreach [for fund-raising] has begun because of not wanting to conflict with the holidays,” Freeman said.

The grant proposal requests $26,000 from DCR.

DCR spokesperson Wendy Fox said delays in announcing grant recipients are not due to budget concerns. “The money is there,” she said.

Rather, DCR is fielding 46 applications, up from about 35 last year. It is “still going over the applications,” she said.

The announcement should be coming “any day,” she said.

Based on the Nov. 14 announcement date, the original deadline for raising the matching funds was Dec. 31. Fox said there will likely be “flexibility on that,” once the recipients are announced.

The plans to replace the fence, which stands opposite the main entrance to the Arnold Arboretum, were developed through a planning process to improve that section of the Arborway, known as the Gateway to the Arborway project. The planning process was funded through a PPP grant last year.

Previously, the coalition got a PPP grant in 2006 to restore a historic stonewall at the corner of Pond Street and the Jamaicaway.

For more information, contact Sarah Freeman at 524-0602 or Ann Stillman at 524-2387.