Massport Budget to Help Fund Local Groups

The Massachusetts Port Authority will continue funding the East Boston Foundation as part of its recently approved Fiscal Year 2015 budget.

Continuation of funding to the Foundation as well as spending on the East Boston Greenway Connector and existing parks will total over $3 million for Eastie.

The Massport section of the East Boston Greenway Connector is wrapping up and a ribbon cutting ceremony on the Port Authority’s section should be held in the next few weeks.

At a Friends of the East Boston Greenway meeting Boston Natural Areas Network’s Candice Cook said with Massport’s work is wrapping the BNAN are working to solidify an opening celebration date now that the end is in sight.

“The new path looks great and greenway members are very pleased,” she said. “The Boston section is progressing at the same pace reported at our last meeting. The aim is to have project out to bid by end of summer and construction in the fall.”

In 2011 Massport’s Board voted to approve the community and city’s request to use a small stretch of Massport owned property that use to be part of the famed Wood Island Park in order to connect the Bremen Street Park with a greenway path that will extend to Constitution Beach.

Allison Richard of Richardson & Roe Architects’ preliminary plans for the extension shows a 12ft.-wide multiuse path for walking, bike riding and rollerblading as well as a 10ft. vinyl-clad fence that will separate the path from the abutting MBTA Blue Line.

The path will extend from the Bremen Street Park and end at Constitution Beach. The city and Massport cut the ribbon on the greenway extension in November 2012.

Greenway proponents spearheaded by community activists like Chris Marchi and Gail Miller, in return for support for a Bus Depot at Logan, had spent two year fighting for the right to use a 25 ft. corridor between the proposed Logan Bus Depot and the community as a way to connect Bremen Street Park to Constitution Beach. This would once and for all connect waterfront parks in the southern part of the neighborhood with parks and airport edge buffers in the northern part of Eastie. This will allow for one

continuous park system and allow adults and children to ride their bikes, jog, rollerblade or take part in other leisurely activities without being dependent on busy neighborhood streets like Bennington Street.

Massport has also increased its lieu of tax payments to Boston and Winthrop as part of its recently approved budget. The $623 million budget reflects five percent increase, or $31 million more than the previous year. The plan will fund Massport’s commitments to community programming here as well as funding safety and security, improving the customer experience at all Massport facilities, and continuing to attract new international and domestic service to propel the region’s economic growth.

The increase in PILOT totals for both Boston and Winthrop is $19 million under the budget.

“Logan is the nation’s 19th busiest airport and is expected to reach a record high 31 million passengers this year and Worcester

Regional Airport is expected to reach more than 120,000 passengers,’’ said Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn. “This budget reflects key investments into our infrastructure that help grow the region’s economy while continuing to improve our customers’ experience.’’

As part of other efforts to support community initiatives in surrounding neighborhoods, Massport will invest $25.5 million, an increase of 5.5 percent. Included are more than $3 million for parks and $1.75 million in summer job opportunities for youth, education scholarships, after school programs and other community giving.

Safety and security remain the top priority of Massport and the Authority will spend more than $73 million in personnel, technology, training and inspections to help ensure the safety of those who use and work at our facilities. A few key examples include the expansion of Security and Fire Rescue at all airports, new technology for Aviation Security, a new Fire and Rescue building at Worcester Airport and the purchase of three new fire engines. The board also voted to spend $5 million to replace the EMAS (Engineered Material Arresting System) at the end of Runway 4L-22R. First implemented in 2005, the materials used – ultra light concrete blocks that pulverize when an airline runs over them, helping to slow it down – have become costly to maintain and therefore it was decided to replace the entire system.

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