Greenway earned income continued to grow in 2016!
Greenway earned income hit a record $956,687 in 2016, continuing the strong growth of the last several years. (You can find this figure on page 3 of our independently audited financial statements, posted online last week after Board approval.)
The non-profit Conservancy earns income from four major sources: location fees from our Mobile Eats vendors, ticket sales at the Greenway Carousel at The Tiffany & Co. Foundation Grove, contracted care for adjacent properties, and event fees. In all cases, we are looking to earn income in ways that are consistent with an innovative, interesting public park.
For Mobile Eats, we have an RFP process each year to select our vendors. Their financial offer is one factor in the selection, but we manage the program to be a major park amenity. The program continues to draw record numbers of patrons because we try to assure a diversity of cuisines, a rotation of options, and new vendors.
The Greenway Carousel’s ticket sales and birthday party options make it a profitable success. More importantly, though, it is a signature destination: a one-of-a-kind design from a local artist that features native animals inspired by the drawings of Boston school children. We continue to appreciate the support of the Highland Street Foundation for a Free Fun Friday at the Greenway Carousel.
We are proud that our maintenance and horticulture care is market-place competitive, as demonstrated by our contracts for the care of two nearby green spaces. The Armenian Heritage Foundation competitively bid care of their park and hired the Conservancy. The Federal Reserve Bank across from Dewey Square Park has a small contract with our horticulture team for specialty care and consulting on organic landscape practices.
We had over 400 free events in 2016, but when there is a commercial component, we share in the revenue. For example, the weekly Greenway Open Market and other festivals that “rent” booths will share a small portion of the income. In rare case, such as a beer festival, there is a ticketed entry and the event organizer will pay a fee. For all events, there are small fees for optional furniture-moving services, cleaning, etc. Also, we look for innovative partners that are interested in exhibiting or promoting their brands; for a fee, we partner for experiential marketing opportunities, such as CBT Architects’ “Housing the Hub” and Freight Farms’ lettuce-growing shipping container. For our free, ticketed, and promotional events, our principle interest is in creating engaging experiences on The Greenway.
In 2017, we expect to continue piloting new amenities that also support the operations of the Greenway Conservancy. One new idea that we’re exploring: a seasonal biergarten / wine bar!
The earned income is critical – and inseparable from basic stewardship of the park. The Greenway would be less vibrant without all of these income-earning additions – but we couldn’t earn this income if we didn’t keep the horticulture beautiful, the fountains running, and the public art on exhibit. Philanthropy remains a larger source of funds than earned income – so consider a gift to support our park rangers, public art, and more!