The Massachusetts Trustees of Reservation have submitted the only bid to Massport’s call for a private/public partner to come forward and help fund the design and construction of Piers Park Phase III.
The dilapidated pier adjacent to Massport’s award winning Piers Park is being eyed by Massport as the future site of a third waterfront park.
Massport sent out a Request for Proposals (RFP) hoping that developers will come forward to turn the aging pier into a 3.6 acre greenspace dubbed ‘Piers Park III’. According to Massport’s RFP the Port Authority is asking that proposals include resiliency features to help protect the neighborhood from flooding and sea level rise.
Details of the bid have not been made public but Massport spokesperson, Jennifer Mehigan, said the Port Authority was not surprised that the Trustees were the only ones to come forward with a bid.
“We would say that the Trustees for Reservation is a very respected organization,” said Mehigan. “This is a very challenging project because of the history of the property. We are not surprised there was only one bid, because of the complexity.”
Managing Director of the Trustees Waterfront Initiative Nick Black said the Trustees have been in conversations with Massport since submitting the bid.
“We submitted the bid and are having conversations about how this moves forward,” said Black. “There’s a lot of question marks here. The piers have been there for over 100 years so there needs to be some testing of the piers and the feasibility of doing a project like this.”
Black said that the Trustees are excited about the opportunity to use Eastie as a launching pad for its Waterfront Initiative.
“We look forward to engaging with East Boston residents to help us create a use that is part of the community’s vision for the waterfront,” said Black. “Our goal with the Waterfront Initiative is to create world class open green space on the waterfront. Massport, in its RFP, gave a lot of leeway for design and plans. While there were no specific requirements they are looking for this park to be a more active space compared to the more passive Piers Park.”
Recently members of the East Boston Project Advisory Committee (PierPAC), who advise the Massport on the operation, security and maintenance of Eastie’s park system, traveled to New York and toured some of the city’s urban waterfront parks and get ideas for Piers Park Phase II and III.
“PierPAC is going to be a very important partner on how we develop Piers Park Phase III if we are chosen by Massport to do so,” said Black. “It was good for PierPAC members to see parks like the Brooklyn Bridge Park because we have worked with the landscape architect that has done that park and some other work in New York.”
The award winning Piers Park was completed in 1995 and has since become part of a network of greenspace that transverses Eastie from the Jeffries Point waterfront to Constitution Beach. Massport has worked with the community for nearly two decades to create more than 33-acres of green space as part of this continuous park network that includes Piers Park, and the Bremen Street Park, the Greenway Connector as well as airport edge buffers like Neptune Road, Southwest Service Area, Navy Fuel Pier and the Bayswater Street park.
Each phase of Piers Park has been considered with different features to allow for a diverse and rich environment. Piers Park was designed as a peaceful urban oasis–specifically as a “passive park”– without athletic fields where individuals and families can enjoy the lush green spaces as they look across the water to downtown Boston.
In October 2017 Massport announced it was committed to funding the construction of Piers Park II after several months of negotiations between the Port Authority and the Logan Impact Advisory Committee (LIAG). Massport and the city announced funding for the Piers Park Phase II project as part of mitigation for both the Terminal E modernization and the addition of 5,000 new parking spaces.
Piers Park II will be a mirror park to the award winning Piers Park. The planning process and design is already underway for that park and PierPAC will work with Massport and its design consultants to oversee the development of the park. Once completed Piers Park II will add another 4.5 acres to the existing Piers Park. This will result in over ten acres of green space for the Eastie’s waterfront.
Massport said the same process will exist throughout the process for Piers Park Phase III.