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BOSTON-As the Surface Artery Commission nears the end of its work, three different visions–by state, city and legislative leaders–emerge on how best to develop the 30 acres of space that will be created Downtown here when the Big Dig is done. By demolishing the old Central Artery, 260 acres will be opened up here, but because of its central location, the 30-acre tract is the most closely scrutinized piece of land. The rest of the land is spread throughout East Boston, Fort Point Channel and along the Charles River.

The three factions of the 12-member panel do agree on a number of basic points. Mainly that a non-profit group should be created to deal with maintenance and potential projects on the 75% of the 30 acres that will be left as open space. The remaining 25% of that land will be set aside for commercial uses. Comprising this new group will be representatives from interested groups as well as from the state and city.

The two major sticking points for the differing factions are how this new group will be funded and how much control it will have over design and construction of the open space area. Legislative leaders and city Mayor Thomas M. Menino would like to give the group power of approval on design and construction projects on it. The problem is that, according to the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, some of the design and construction contracts have already been bid out as part of larger Big Dig projects.

Various proposals were offered to deal with the funding issue. The Big Dig has $65 million set aside to build the park system, but $6 million a year will be needed for operations and maintenance. The city proposed that the money be raised from the state, city and other contributors but did not define how the money would be raised. The Turnpike Authority proposed establishing an endowment, which would provide ongoing funding for the group, but it is unclear if the commission will accept that proposal.

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