AIR Inc., the Friends of Belle Island Marsh, Boston Natural Areas Network and other community groups and individuals won a significant victory earlier this month in their quest to connect a handful of the best open spaces in East Boston with a bike and pedestrian path. If you answered our request a few months back to call your elected officials in support of the extension and these great advocates, your effort was not wasted!
On Aug. 11 the Massport board voted to approve a request to use a small stretch of land that once was part of Wood Island Park-a former Frederick-Law-Olmsted-designed park along the water-for the extension of the existing Bremen Street Greenway to Constitution Beach. This piece of land is about 25 feet long, hardly room for the entire path, but signals a new era of cooperation between Massport and the proponents of the path.
“At this point we know that an inclusive community design process will begin in the Fall and that Massport will pay for construction and park maintenance into perpetuity as per our original Community Agreement with them,” wrote advocate Chris Marchi in an email announcing the victory.
The Menino Administration apparently played a key role in the process, helping to convince Massport that a path was possible.
“East Boston residents have long sought to connect their public spaces from Piers Park to Belle Isle Marsh,” Mayor Thomas Menino was quoted as saying in the East Boston Times-Free Press last week. “Over the past several months city hall planners have worked hand in hand with Massport and community leaders to extend the East Boston greenway, connecting the Bremen Street Park to Wood Island Marsh and Constitution Beach, and enable residents to bike or walk on a continuous pathway across East Boston. While there are planning and design challenges that remain to be addressed, I am confident that the planning process is now in place to realize the full vision and potential of a continuous East Boston Greenway.”