City Preps Central Square for Redevelopment

The City of Boston has begun the initial stages this week of prepping Central Square for the year-long redevelopment project that will transform the square.

After years of waiting, the bid to transform Central Square into a new vibrant center of the neighborhood was finally been accepted in June.

“We had a series of community meetings to update businesses and residents on what they should expect during construction,” said City Councilor Sal  LaMattina.  “I’m very excited about this project because it will transform Central Square and is one of the biggest transportation projects we have done in East Boston in a long time.”

The McCourt Construction Company won the bid, and along with the City of Boston, will begin construction this month on the $8 million project.

“Central Square is a neighborhood Main Streets district in the heart of the East Boston Community,” the City said in a statement. “Laid out in the days of horse and carriage, the square includes vast expanses of pavement and an oval park in the center that is difficult to access.”

The City said the redesigned square will reclaim much of the pavement for pedestrian use by narrowing the streets, expanding the park and widening the sidewalks to create spaces for outdoor seating, cafes, and greenspace elements. Traffic will also be better organized and bike lanes will be added where possible to improve traffic flow and create a safer environment for cyclists.

In April 2013, Boston Transportation Department (BTD) officials said the project would break ground in the fall of 2013 after telling the community bids had already been sent out. However, BTD’s Vineet Gupta said at the time the project would most likely not begin until fall 2014.

“We finished the design two years ago,” said Gupta at the time. “Since that time we have been taking the concepts and working out minor details to accommodate the design the community had asked for.”

With no bids accepted over last summer and another round of bids sent out at the end of December, it looked as though residents would have to wait even longer for the project to start.

LaMattina said the problem was all the bids for the project came in over the budget. LaMattina said the city reworked the bids and tweaked the design to hit the $8 million.

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