Historic buildings crumbling, no lease security and inadequate funding… these are the issues that we will take on with other Blue Hills organizations in the new Coalition for a Better Blue Hills.
The Friends of the Blue Hills has brought together Blue Hills organizations to form the Coalition to secure financial, political and public support for the Blue Hills Reservation.
Together with the Trailside Museum, Blue Hill Ski Area, Brookwood Farm, Blue Hill Observatory and the Friends of the Mounted Unit, we will protect our collective investment in the resources of the Blue Hills, benefit the community and build on successful public-private partnerships.
Specifically, we will advocate to:
1. Secure funding for Blue Hills landmarks designated in the environmental and general bond bills (Trailside Museum, Broderick Stable, Blue Hill Observatory, Blue Hill Ski Area, Eliot Tower)
Bond funding would support the following:
- $2.5 million for improvements and repairs at the Trailside Museum from the Environmental Bond Bill
- $1.25 million for improvements to the Blue Hills Ski Area from the Environmental Bond Bill
- $2.5 million for the preservation and restoration of Eliot Tower and the Blue Hill Observatory from the Environmental Bond Bill
- $2.5 million funds included in the General Government Bond Bill and $1 million included in the Environmental Bond Bill for Restoration and renovation of the historic Broderick Stable.
2. Provide adequate funding for DCR, as outlined in the Massachusetts Environmental Collaborative Green Budget, which recommends 1% of the state budget for environmental programs
DCR Funding History: DCR’s overall operating budget has been reduced by nearly 30% since FY2009. The agency has lost approximately 250 staff positions, reducing the overall workforce by more than 25%. DCR has become increasingly efficient, but the reductions in both full-time and seasonal staff translate directly into on-the-ground impacts on service delivery – park supervision, forest fire control, visitor services, natural resource protection and park safety and cleanliness. Along with other groups in the Mass Environmental Collaborative, we recommend $44.3M for DCR FY2016 funding. (After 9C cuts, DCR funding for FY15 was $40.4M.)
3. Secure long-term leases for the Ski Area, Observatory, Trailside and Brookwood Farm
Long-term leases would give these public-private partnerships the security to invest, strengthening the institutions – and improving what they can offer visitors. The Observatory could apply for foundation grants that require a minimum of 20-year leases. The Ski Area could invest in long-term strategies that would yield more funding for the Blue Hill Trust Fund – and bring more people to the area to enjoy the Observatory, Trailside, Eliot Tower and Broderick Stable.
Photo credit: Frieda Cooper, Canton