By John Lynds
City Councilor Sal LaMattina and East Boston State Representative Adrian Madaro stopped by Monday’s Harbor View Neighborhood Association to brief residents on some of the progress being made in Eastie.
LaMattina, who will leave office after his term expires later this year, received a round of applause and thanks from not only Madaro but from HVNA members for his years of service to the community.
However, before he leaves LaMattina said he’s still focused on improving waterfront access through development, adding ferry service and strengthening Eastie’s parks.
“I remember 30 years ago we had the least amount of open space in the city,” said LaMattina. “As a youth worker at Maverick Landing when I was younger I worked with Marty Pino and we use to have to take East Boston kids outside of the neighborhood to use other parks. Today we have one of the nicest park systems in the city. Now we are about to start construction on Noyes Park and that will really be the last park that gets rehabbed. Once that park is done, every park in East Boston will have been done over.”
LaMattina said he will continue to support waterfront development as a way of gaining more waterfront access.
“If you haven’t been to the new restaurant at the Eddy on New Street you really should go and check it out,” said LaMattina. “It’s projects like the Eddy that were my vision for East Boston for decades and now it is finally happening. Developing our waterfront was really the only way we could gain more access and when all these projects are done we are going to have the nicest waterfront in the city with the best views of Boston. You will be able to walk from the Hyatt Harborside on the Harborwalk all the way past LoPresti Park and down to Central Square.”
LaMattina added that he will continue to advocate for ferry service in Eastie.
“We are now working with the Town of Winthrop to try and add a ferry stop at Lewis Mall that will continue to Aquarium and then the Seaport (District),” said LaMattina. “This is important because we can look across the harbor and see the Seaport but it is really hard to get there by public transportation so we need to fill that gap.”
Rep. Madaro then touched upon some of the issues he’s been working on the state level that impact Eastie.
Madaro, who sits on both the transportation and marijuana policy committees, said these two committees have been keeping him pretty busy during the budget process.
“As a member of the Marijuana Policy Committee my colleagues and I are charged with implementing the will of the voters that voted to support recreational marijuana in the Commonwealth,” said Madaro. “We’ve been holding hearings across the state and have to get a bill on the Governor’s desk by June so the hard work has begun.”
Madaro also filed legislation to raise wages for Logan Airport workers.
“Last session, I filed the Logan Airport workers minimum wage bill that didn’t pass but it sparked meetings between the union workers and Massport,” said Madaro. “I was able to negotiate a deal that when the state’s minimum wage was raised to $11 per hour the Logan union workers would get $12 per hour and they will remain one dollar ahead of the state’s minimum wage for the foreseeable future.”
His work as a member of the Transportation Committee has provided a platform for Madaro to advocate for transportation issues that affect Eastie.
“I have been working to finally get the Red Line-Blue Line Connector off the ground but also advocating for late night MBTA service, an East Boston ferry as well as other transportation issues and how it pertains to East Boston,” he said.
Madaro also said he has been putting a real emphasis on programs that support at risk youth in Eastie.
“The number one issue for me is neighborhood youth getting involved in opioid abuse and gangs,” said Madaro.
Madaro said he secured an additional $1 million in funding for the state’s Shannon Grant. This money will help fund Eastie programs like the Boys & Girls Club and the Boston Police Athletic League that help kids stay off drugs and out of gangs.