A group of environmental activists and residents who have been working for months to develop a public engagement process on reshaping an industrial stretch of land located along the Chelsea Creek will kick off a “Visioning Process” next week with online workshops in English and Spanish.
The first online workshops to begin re-imagining the abandoned MBTA/MassDOT-owned railway site along the industrial shoreline of Lower Chelsea Creek in Eastie will be held in English will be held on Wednesday, July 29 and in Spanish on Thursday, July 30.
You can register for the meeting at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/vision-chelsea-creek-community-workshop-1-tickets-111188770606?fbclid=IwAR3_jb13gJjXsWUhbEOna5KHFzyjF3yePjvEcXA9-hYBQ7HXeGtLDNFQjoM.
In May 2020 The Harborkeepers launched Vision Chelsea Creek, a six-month long visioning, planning and engagement process aimed at solving multiple coastal and urban challenges this site along the Chelsea Creek poses.
The Visioning Process will be driven by a public-private partnership between The Harborkeepers, a local, grassroots coastal and resilience-building non-profit based in Eastie, and Cargo Ventures, a long-time Boston land owner and abutter to the site.
Last year, Cargo Ventures tried to acquire the unused stretch of land that once served as a MBTA/MassDOT-owned railway along the Chelsea Creek behind several current freight forwarding and rental car facilities. The state put out an Invitation to Bid (ITB) for the land that runs parallel to McClellan Highway in the form of easements through the ITB process. Cargo Ventures was the only reported bidder.
However, a lack of community process had elected officials, residents and neighborhood activists calling for a more transparent process. In July of last year the MBTA’s Fiscal Management Control Board Chair Joe Aiello said the state was shelving the ITB process until a review of the corridor and alternative uses for the land could be explored. At the Control Board meeting Monday Aiello said the state will look at possibly using the easements to improve mobility in and around Eastie.
With the ITB shelved, Cargo Ventures CEO Jacob Citrin kicked off a community process to sell his ideas for the stretch of industrial land along the Chelsea Creek that his company owns as well as the MBTA/MassDOT-owned railway.
Citrin is now working with The Harborkeepers and residents to have a robust visioning process for his site and the MBTA/MassDOT-owned railway.
“Through a transparent, open community and stakeholder engagement process, the Vision Chelsea Creek team will work together to design and develop a comprehensive vision for the site,” said The Harborkeepers Director Magdelena La Battaglia. “The vision should be inclusive of various needs and priorities, and build on waterfront and open space advocacy. Overall, Vision Chelsea Creek will assess opportunities for ecological shoreline restoration and stabilization; equitable access; transportation mitigation; historic preservation; and industrial re-use.”
La Battaglia said this six-month-long process will culminate in a pilot ‘catalyst’ project proposal that will provide insight into the future implementation of the comprehensive vision.
“At a larger scale, Vision Chelsea Creek aims to enhance public understanding of land use opportunities for Boston’s vulnerable waterways,” said La Battaglia. “The team will work to address these social and environmental challenges through detailed analysis of previous studies, community advocacy, and site conditions – outlining strategies to mitigate negative environmental impacts and create a more resilient, accessible, and restorative waterfront edge.”
To better inform a set of resilience and climate adaptation strategies for the site, the team will study precedent visions for the area, building on engagement conducted by local groups while leveraging and contributing to the implementation of the City of Boston’s overarching climate resilience goals.