Money Coming Our Way: Boston City Budget Earmarks Millions of Dollars for Eastie

Last week the Boston City Council today unanimously approved the Fiscal Year 2013 budget submitted by Mayor Thomas Menino that includes millions of dollars of capital spending in East Boston.

“I am pleased that the City Council approved a budget that continues to invest in our strengths, builds relationships, and engages our partners. I would like to thank Council President Murphy and Ways and Means Chair Ciommo for their leadership in supporting a budget that works for the people of Boston,” said Menino.  “This budget helps expand access to quality schools, empowers neighbors to engage in their communities, promotes healthy living, and ensures Boston’s prosperity for years to come.”

In April, Menino delivered his $2.4 billion Operating Budget for Fiscal Year 2013 and five year $1.8 billion Capital Plan that includes the completion of several projects in Eastie as well as the beginning of other major improvements here. Some of the projects in Eastie are part of a $217 million in new FY 2013 project authorizations.

“We are not only planning for this year but for the future,” said Menino. “The thing about some of the projects we are doing in East Boston is about investing in the infrastructure and the future of these facilities. If we don’t invest now in the parks, playgrounds, police stations, schools, pools and keep them in good shape years down the road you have to tear them and build new ones at a greater expense.”

The biggest project to get FY 2013 spending in Eastie will be the neighborhood’s new library on Bremen Street. Menino announced that project will break ground on April 25 and is expected to open in fall 2014. The project is budgeted at $17.4 million with $10.1 million in city money (Bonds), and the rest from the state.

Also highlighted in the FY 2013 budget is the Parks Department’s completion of $11 million in renovation to the East Boston Stadium. The Parks Department will also begin planning this year for an $850,000 renovation to the Paris Street Playground.

Another Parks Department project mentioned in the FY 2013 budget is an overhaul to the American Legion Playground that includes a new synthetic turf field, new play courts and bleachers. Construction probably won’t begin this fiscal year, but the city is budgeting for planning and design as well as the demolition of the old clubhouse. Also the Sumner-Lamson Playground is going to get $435,000 worth of renovations, mostly to the play lot, this upcoming year.

Capital improvements for Eastie infrastructure includes a new roof for East Boston High School funded at $3.2 million and exterior masonry work and a new roof at Distict-7 Police Station. That project will cost $1.86 million.

Menino also confirmed he is setting up a future extension of the East Boston Greenway by including funding in the City’s budget for an outlet path that will eventually connect the new extension through Logan Airport to Constitution Beach. Steps will also be taken to protect the historic trees near Neptune Road that once served as the gateway to the famed Wood Island Park as work crews tear down the condemned bridge over the MBTA Blue Line tracks.

In November, community activists joined city and state officials to officially mark the completion of the long anticipated East Boston Greenway Extension design plan. For close to two years community activists lobbied to use a small stretch of 25-foot corridor on Logan Airport property in order to finally connect the southern portion of Eastie’s Greenway to future section in the northern part of the neighborhood.

Menino including funding for an outlet path signals that the city is in support of the community’s plan to connect the new extension currently under construction with Constitution Beach via a pathway that runs parallel with the MBTA Blue Line.

“This budget will ensure many projects that need to get done in East Boston will get done,” said City Councilor Sal LaMattina. “I applaud my colleagues on the City Council and the Mayor for keeping these projects that are important to the neighborhood on track.”

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