By John Lynds
City Councilor Sal LaMattina said with the East Boston Greenway Extension complete he is focusing his attentions on the neighborhood’s Harborwalk that is being created as development along Eastie’s shore continues.
LaMattina recently brought all of Eastie’s waterfront developers together for a public meeting to discuss ways to create an accessible and cohesive community Harborwalk. The meeting served as the culmination of months of work by Councilor LaMattina with developers to improve the appearance of the East Boston Harborwalk.
“We have waited for decades to open up East Boston’s waterfront. Now with so many developments coming online, we are starting to realize that goal,” said LaMattina. “The challenge for us is to make sure that each separate development compliments one another and creates a seamless and continuous harborwalk.”
LaMattina has made the Harborwalk one of the cornerstones of his current term. Back in October he brought residents and developers together to tour the Harborwalk. He conducted a follow-up tour with the same group in December, and has reached out to the development community several times since.
During previous tours, LaMattina said he wasn’t thrilled about the overall look of Roseland’s Harborwalk. Roseland, developer of Portside at Pier One, was one of the first Harborwalks to open as part of residential waterfront development. LaMattina said more can be done to spruce it up like adding more mature trees, better lighting, more benches and greenery and a restaurant.
In response, representatives from the Davis Companies, Gerding Edlin, LendLease, Roseland and Trinity Financial – who each have projects on Eastie waterfront – came up with a plan for uniform wayfinding and signage throughout their respective developments. The developers presented the community with several style options to choose from for the signage and wayfinding.
“Councilor LaMattina and Representative Madaro have spurred a meaningful community dialogue with the developers,” said former Boston City Councilor Paul Scapicchio, who helped organize the meeting and represents one of the waterfront developers. “The willingness of these developers to work together on wayfinding and signage is a testament to their commitment to a vibrant, accessible and cohesive Harborwalk.”
Nick Iselin from LendLease who is developing Clippership Wharf said the development team is putting a real emphasis on the project’s Chapter 91 license and wants the Harborwalk and public accommodations to really stand out.
At previous community meetings concerning the project, LendLease is proposing something unique when compared to some of the other waterfront developments when it comes to extending the Harborwalk and other public accommodations.
LendLease wants to incorporate the natural tidal plains to flow into the Harborwalk to create a small cove that will include a boardwalk over the water as it connects to other Harborwalks on either side of the project. This area will include a Harborwalk, boardwalk, a natural cove for recreational community activities like boating, canoeing and kayaking.
Iselin said the thought is to make the entire development a destination area for the Harborwalk, recreational water sports as well as other public accommodations like a cafe and restaurant.
LaMattina said with the success of waterfront activities along Eastie’s shore last summer, like free kayaking at Constitution Beach, he wants to see more developers adopt a recreational approach to the Harborwalk.
“What NOAH and Chris Marchi did over the summer was amazing,” said LaMattina. “Close to 2,000 residents took advantage of the free kayaking but we have miles of waterfront and programs like that should be duplicated across the neighborhood.”