Op-Ed: Access to Everett’s waterfront is becoming a reality
By Mayor Carlo DeMaria
I continually ask people to imagine a restored waterfront with walking trails, a viewing hill, and many other amenities along our waterfront. Today, that vision is becoming a reality. Within the next couple of weeks we will be cutting the ribbon on phase I of the Malden River Walk at River Green Park and the construction of phase II will soon follow.
The waterfront park along the Malden River Greenway will become a tremendous asset for everyone to enjoy for years to come. It will be one of the largest open spaces in the Greater Boston Region, offering new walking trails, access to the Malden River and Northern Strand Community Trail, and future re-development opportunities nearby. Opening the City to the waterfront will improve the quality of life of our existing residents and enhance our appeal to new residents, businesses, and the development community.
Along with this park, Encore Boston Harbor has completed the cleanup of the Mystic River, the restoration of the living shoreline, construction of the harbor walk, and is now landscaping the property, with over 5,000 adult trees and shrubs. Soon, they will begin construction of a trail to connect their property to the Northern Strand Community Trail.
The Northern Strand Community Trail has been a vision of mine and bike advocates since I first took office. When there was little funding at the state level for bike trails we brought in Iron Horse Rail Company to build the trail at little or no cost to the city. Then, we applied for state funding to pave the trail. Soon after, other communities followed our lead, and built the trail from Lynn to Everett. Now, with $1.5 million in state funding, design work has begun to connect the trail from Nahant all the way into Boston.
I want to thank Bike to the Sea, Encore Boston Harbor, the Conservation Law Foundation, Friends of the Malden River, and the Mystic River Watershed Association for their commitment to the residents of Everett. With the Malden River vision plan and Northern Community Trail accomplishments, we are creating more open space and connectivity along the river to our community and the Greater Boston region.
However, we need to do the same along the Mystic River and that is why my administration is also working with these groups to ensure that owners of the Everett Gateway Center Mall provide complete access to the waterfront through a connector link from the DCR Park on the Malden River to the Encore Harborwalk. Such a link would create both uninhibited bicycle and pedestrian access for the City of Everett and neighboring communities to the Mystic River Reservation and thousands of acres of open space and trails. In addition, it will also provide essential access for our community to MBTA connections.
This project would benefit not only our community, but also numerous developments in the region. It would create the potential to significantly increase bicycle, pedestrian and transit mode shares in areas that have been traditionally difficult to access by pedestrians and cyclists.
I strongly urge the owners of the Gateway Mall to provide access to allow this critical link to connect our community and the Mystic River Reservation to the Encore Harbor Walk and the living shoreline.