Opinion » Guest Opinion

How We're Investing in the South End and Bay Village

by Mayor Marty Walsh
Thursday May 16, 2019

This article is from the May 16, 2019 issue of South End News.

Every spring, we release our Capital Investment Plan which funds the critical improvements to our infrastructure and facilities in Boston over a five-year period. It is a reflection of our priorities, and is guided by the voices of over 15,000 residents who offered input for our citywide plan, Imagine Boston 2030. Our Capital Plan funds the essentials of community life -- our schools, streets, libraries, and parks, including climate and resilience projects. It's a commitment to all those who call Boston home and to our future generations.

Here in the South End, we're making investments across a wide range of projects, including parks and open space, streets and transportation, our schools' infrastructure, and our delivery of City services.

We're continuing to invest in the South Bay Harbor Trail, by using $383,000 in city funds to leverage federal funds in order to get his project built. With a federal grant of $3.8 million in addition to the city's investment, we will be able to design and construct an important link in the City's greenway. The South Bay Harbor Trail will work as an important artery that will connect trails together. We believe that funding equitable and accessible community spaces is crucial to keeping Boston not only a beautiful city, but also an open and welcoming one.

In addition to the Harbor Trail, we've also devoted $2 million for improvements to Titus Sparrow Park to upgrade the playground, tennis and basketball courts, and $370,000 for improvements to Peter's Park. With these investments, residents will continue to enjoy these spaces in the coming years.
Also, we're allocating much of our budget to infrastructure and transportation efforts in order to make navigating Boston safe, reliable, and equitable for all users of the road. We're investing $2.5 million toward the redesign of Tremont Street from Herald Street to Melnea Cass, including permanent safety improvements to crossings, accessibility upgrades, dedicated bicyclist space, and potential drop-off zones for ridesharing.

More than $2 million will be distributed for road reconstruction improvements to Harrison Avenue between East Berkeley Street and Herald Street, as well as another $1.8 million for roadway improvements to Washington Street from East Berkeley Street to Herald Street, and Traveler Street between Washington Street and Harrison Avenue. These improvements include resurfacing, pavement markings, and new traffic signals. Also, we are putting $150,000 towards adjusting curbs and medians, upgrading ramps, and establishing continuous bike facilities in both directions on Massachusetts Avenue from Harrison Avenue to Melnea Cass Boulevard.

We've also funded a number of longer-term projects designed to create growth and opportunity in each neighborhood long after the initial investment.

With an eye towards the future, we're investing $5 million at the Blackstone School for interior refurbishments to classrooms, additional security measures and improvements to the fire alarm system. Additionally, we're spending $1.6 million to conduct a feasibility study of the Carter School and develop schematic design plans that will include spaces for instructional activities like aquatic, physical, creative arts, and multi-sensory therapies. Additionally, we're allocating $150,000 to an engineering study to identify methods to eliminate storm water pollution.

With this Capital Plan, we're investing heavily in high-quality infrastructure improvements to better serve residents. We've put $3 million towards facility programming and design work for the construction of a new Engine 3 fire station to keep Bostonians and their property safe.

We are also investing in critical public spaces like our libraries. The City of Boston is investing $732,000 in the South End branch library for an interior reconfiguration project and a facility assessment that will develop an updated building program.

Additionally, we're investing in our most vulnerable residents by putting $5.6 million towards renovations and upgrades to the Woods Mullen and Southampton Street shelters.

Now that we've submitted Boston's budget, where do we go from here? First, to the City Council, where it will be reviewed and adjusted as necessary. After it's gone through that process and secured approval, it will go into effect, starting in July 2020 and running throughout the next 12 months. We hope you will continue to provide your valuable input on what we as a city can do to raise up your community. If you'd like to learn more about the Capital Plan and how this budget was created, please go to budget.boston.gov.