Boston, Revere Hold Resilient Bennington Street, Fredericks Park Project Meeting

By Michael Coughlin Jr.

Earlier this month, officials from Boston and Revere hosted a public meeting at which attendees received updates about the Resilient Bennington Street and Fredericks Park project.

The abovementioned project stems from a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) grant awarded to the City of Boston, which is partnering with the City of Revere.

According to the project’s webpage on the City of Boston’s website, the grant was awarded to “advance the design of coastal resilience strategies extending along Bennington Street in East Boston and Frederick’s Park in Revere.”

The project webpage continues to describe the project, stating that it will “develop schematic designs for an identified priority action area at Bennington Street, Fredericks Park, and Belle Isle Marsh, located at the intersection of East Boston and Revere where flooding occurs today and will increase in the future.”

Moreover, the webpage indicates that the project will employ “nature-based and hybrid solutions” to accomplish goals such as reducing flood risk, improving public safety, and enhancing the marsh’s habitat value.

Catherine McCandless, Boston’s Climate Resilience Project Manager, and Elle Baker Revere’s Open Space and Environmental Planner, both underscored the importance of this project by displaying past events from 2022 and this past January, which have left areas from and around  Bennington Street to Fredericks Park under water.

“This just highlights that flooding is happening now during storms, and we anticipate that this will increase in severity and frequency as sea levels rise due to climate change. So it’s really imperative for us to take action now,” said McCandless.

Currently, an analysis is being conducted to determine which strategies should be used to accomplish the project’s goals—some of which were mentioned above.

Specifically, two alternatives are being analyzed to reduce flood risk. Alternative one is to “elevate Bennington Street with a gradual slope into the marsh” in Boston and, in Revere, to “construct a berm/living levee around Fredericks Park to Montfern Avenue with a gradual slope into the marsh.”

Alternative two is to “construct a berm/living levee along Bennington Street in the City’s right-of-way with a gradual slope into the marsh” in Boston and in Revere to “elevate Fredericks Park with a gradual slope into the marsh and construct a berm/living levee from Fredericks Park to Montfern Avenue.”

According to McCandless, the alternatives were proposed through work in different plans such as Climate Ready Boston, a study of Belle Isle Marsh, and Revere’s Open Space plan.

She also noted, “All of these different alternatives will include that redesign of Fredericks Park, and in some cases, it may be a combination of these different alternatives depending on the location throughout the study area.”

As the meeting progressed, Mark Costa of VHB, the project’s lead consultant, outlined the findings from a project site investigation.

First, Costa walked through the elevation data along Bennington Street and at Fredericks Park. The data revealed that Bennington Street and Fredericks Park have low points at 7.5 feet.

This low point is critical because Costa identified that the predicted 2070 100-year flood elevation is 13.8 feet.

“The 7.5-foot low elevation within Bennington Street, as well as the 7.5 within Fredericks Park, is approximately six feet lower than what we’re expecting a future flood event to reach,” said Costa.

Costa displayed a hydraulic model with the abovementioned elevation data, rainfall, storm surge conditions, and existing flood infrastructure. The model simulated a future 100-year event with a 1.5-foot rise in sea level.

The model showed flooding that begins in low-elevation areas and spreads throughout the areas near the park and Bennington Street.

However, Costa also showed a model with the same event, except the resiliency strategies were added, and water stays in the marsh system, moves down Sales Creek, and discharges into the Belle Isle inlet.

Costa also indicated that a geotechnical evaluation, which he said “is a study of the underlying soils,” is being conducted. He also mentioned that soil borings were completed in March, and fill, clay, and sand were found. 

He also mentioned that they have spoken with Beachmont Veterans Memorial School officials, who identified settlement around the site.

“The elevation of the school has remained the same… but the ground surface elevation has actually sunk over the years,” said Costa.

Finally, through an on-site field investigation, wetland resource areas were delineated, including wetland areas east and west of Bennington Street, salt marshes east of Bennington Street and coming into Fredericks Park, and more.

To wrap up the presentation, Costa provided overviews of the aforementioned alternatives with a map and cross sections. To view these images, visit

Following the presentation, the floor was opened for questions and comments from those who attended the meeting.

Joanne McKenna, Revere’s Ward 1 Councillor, raised a concern she had heard from residents abutting Montfern Avenue and other roadways that a berm might push water into their streets.

Costa indicated they are in a preliminary design phase and said, “We don’t have detailed grading yet or drainage structures identified. However, I can say that we will absolutely take into account abutting properties, both coastal events as well as rainfall events, and provide a really comprehensive design here.”

Baker then addressed concerns raised in the chat by the VFW in the area regarding impacts on parking.

“We have a very narrow strip to get around the corner where the VFW is to not impact any of the parking. We’re trying to look at what other alternatives that we can do there,” said Baker.

“I thank you for your patience and for all your questions, and I can understand that you’re frustrated, and it might feel like we’ve made decisions without you, but I assure you we have not done so,” she added.

“Nothing here is actually set in stone.”    

McCandless also clarified, “All of the design and permitting work is coming after this point. So there’s still a long way to go before we have a final design.”

Another attendee asked if there was a preference for any of the alternatives. Costa indicated that they are considering many things, such as impacts on wetland resource areas, sightlines, cost, and more.

“Right now, we don’t know which ones the preferred. We know both of these solutions, both of these alternatives, alternative one [and] alternative two, could work for flood protection, but there’s so many other things to consider than that,” said Costa.

As the meeting progressed and ultimately ended, several other topics were discussed, such as extending potential shared used paths to East Boston’s Greenway, the adaptability of these alternatives, and other possible solutions.

Regarding the next steps, there are upcoming engagement opportunities for folks interested in learning more about the project.

Specifically, there are plans for a virtual office hour tomorrow, May 16th, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. There are also plans for a coffee hour on May 23rd at Toretta’s Bakery and Ice Cream in Revere from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

It should also be noted that McCandless mentioned during the meeting that the goal is to select a preferred alternative in June.

“Community and stakeholder engagement has been spanning all of the work that we’ve done before this point, and it will continue to span all of the work that is to come,” said McCandless.

For more information about the project and to view the recording and presentation from this meeting, visit

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