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.
Open spaces and parks are some of the greatest assets we have in our communities. They provide a space to gather, for children to play and a chance to admire nature away from our busy streets. After meeting with youth groups who advocated for park improvements, we allocated $2 million for the renovation of Ramsay Park, including the play lot, basketball courts, tennis courts, plazas, passive areas and lighting. We’ve also allotted $1.98 million for improvements to Titus Sparrow Park, while the South End Library Park will receive a $150,000 renovation, and we’re investing another $100,000 in Peters Park.
The South End Library Branch is getting a $132,000 interior reconfiguration project that includes major electrical, telecom, paint and carpet upgrades. $379,117 is allocated in fiscal year 2018 for the renovation and design of the South End Fitness Center Pool, which will include a rain screen wall, add ventilation, replace doors and exterior windows, and repair the pool.
Our streets and roadways are always a major priority when we consider investments in our city. This year, we will be giving $3.8 million for road reconstruction improvements to Harrison Avenue, a street essential to economic development along the corridor between East Berkeley Street and Herald Street. $1.75 million allocated to conduct roadway improvements such as resurfacing, new pavement markings as well as new traffic signals to Washington Street from East Berkeley Street to Herald Street and Traveler Street.
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.