On Monday Mayor Martin Walsh released his recommended Fiscal Year 2019 operating budget. The budget includes the city’s five-year capital spending plan with numerous projects in East Boston that will be funded, including a new police station at the City Yards that are located in Eagle Square, and a renovation to the Paris Street Pool.
Over the next five years the city will spend $25.54 million to design and construct the long-awaited new police station at the City Yards. At a recent community meeting city officials were happy to report that bids should be sent out this year and construction on the new police station should begin in October or November 2018.
This will be after a community process on design is completed. The city will return to the EHCA in two to three months with a more detailed architectural plan. The building’s design will work to create a more efficient and better station for police and replace the aging District A-7 station on Meridian Street near Maverick Square. The station will be roughly 26,000 sq. ft. with an entrance on the corner of Condor and Trenton Streets. There will be parking in the rear of the station for 50 vehicles and the building will be LEAD Silver Certified.
The city has also earmarked $5 million for the design and rehab construction of the Paris Street Pool across from the Paris Street Gym. The Gym recently underwent a $14 million overhaul and the pool’s rehab will compliment the new state-of-the-art gym and community center.
When the pool was first built, it featured a glass roof, sliding doors that looked out onto the Paris Street playground, as well as a veranda so residents could enjoy a swim and then sit outside during the hot summer months. The pool underwent an overhaul under then Mayor Kevin White due to constant vandalism of the glass roof and glass doors. The pool was encased in cement blocks and now looks more like a bomb shelter than a community pool.
The plan, according to the city is to restore the pool back to its original glory and strengthen the connection between the pool building and the adjacent park.
Money to the tune of $3.1 million will be spent to overhaul Noyes Park in Orient Heights. The plan that the city came up with is to reconfigure the largest of the three baseball diamonds and shift home base over towards the basketball courts behind the Marty Pino Center. This shift allows enough room to add a fenced in regulation Little League field in some unused dead space at Noyes Park. The current Little League Field on Saratoga Street would be converted into a multi-use, astroturf field for both softball and soccer.
The city will also spend more than $2.3 million for ongoing repairs inside Boston’s historic cemeteries, which includes the Bennington Street Cemetery. The Bennington Street Cemetery is one of the earliest planned open spaces in the Eastie. Founded in 1838, its physical layout and gravemarkers reflect the growth and diversity that has characterized the neighborhood. The landfill projects of the 1830s and the shipping-associated industries attracted countless laborers to this area. The gravestones and monuments represent their numbers and ethnic backgrounds. Immigrant groups represented here were from Germany, Norway, Ireland, England, Scotland, and New Brunswick. One of the exceptional features of this cemetery is the number of epitaphs inscribed in a foreign language. For example, of the remaining legible stones, eleven have inscriptions written in German. In addition to detailing the growth of the immigrant community, the markers also recount the process of nation-building and the role East Bostonians played in it. Local participation in the Civil War is illustrated by the thirty-seven marble markers commemorating members of the Massachusetts Infantry, Navy, Cavalry, and Artillery. In addition, there is one free-standing G.A.R. Post 23 monument and two headstones commemorating World War I veterans.
The city is also planning a $1.925-million repair project at the Engine 5 Fire Station on Saratoga Street. The project includes roof replacement, masonry re-pointing, gutter replacement, waterproofing, flashing repairs, window and door repairs and drainage improvements.
Included FY19-23 capital plan, the City and BPS will increase its investment in school security to a total of $5 million, representing a $2 million increase from the previous year. Through this funding the P.J. Kennedy, McKay Early Learning Center, and the Adams schools will receive upgrades to external and internal doors, locks and key cards, intercom, motion detectors and cameras.
The McArdle Bridge will get $3 million over the next five years for a rehab project.
Eastie’s Urban Wild along Marginal Street known as ‘The Rockies’ will share in $3.2 million in funding the city is setting aside to spruce up urban wilds owned by the Parks Department. For years the the Rockies has been in dire need of repairs, including the retaining wall that separates the Rockies from the Adams School. Over 25 years ago this patch of vacant city-owned property along Marginal Street was slated to be developed into housing, but the community joined together to lobby officials for an Urban Wild to be developed on the site. Over the years the the Rockies was transformed by the city, through a partnership with the Jeffries Point Community, into a community garden, orchard and Urban Wild. However, in the past few years the property has been unkempt, slightly unwelcoming and problems with the crumbling retaining wall have made it a bit dangerous. While the site was an untamed Urban Wild the overhaul will transform the Rockies into a more beautifully landscaped park that welcomes more residents to interact with the space by adding paths and benches.