By Mayor Martin 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.
Jamaica Pond is not only part of the historic Emerald Necklace, it’s a unique community gathering place with its annual lantern parade, boating lessons and endless parade of walkers and joggers enjoying the 1.5 mile loop. So $4.7 million is being dedicated to revitalizing the pathways around Jamaica Pond to make it more accessible and friendly to all visitors that wish to take advantage of all it has to offer.
Soon, construction will be completed on the $10 million Jamaica Plain Branch Library renovation and addition to update the building’s space for programs, accessibility and programing. We invite you to join us on Saturday, May 20 at 11 a.m. to celebrate the reopening of the branch. The goal is to create a community hub on South Street, with the new state-of-the-art library drawing visitors from throughout the neighborhood.
Hyde Square is getting a $1.25 million multi-year investment to reconstruct Centre Street. Planned improvements include increased sidewalk space, traffic and pedestrian safety improvements, new lighting, landscaping and the installation of new public art.
Franklin Park not only touches many different neighborhoods, it’s one of our city’s greatest resources. A $5 million investment is underway to improve and repair pathways across the park. Another $679,000 is being invested at Olmstead Park Landscape Restoration for landscape rehabilitation that will include woodlands restoration, stair stabilization and landscape improvements all slated for fiscal year 2018 .
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.