A good deal for Columbia Point

The Calf Pasture Pumping Station on Columbia Point is an important building that has languished too long without restoration. It’s big news, then, that the city of Boston— through the Water and Sewer Commission— has agreed to turn ownership of the building over to UMass Boston in exchange for student scholarships. It’s a good deal for both sides— and an even better turn for the broader community, which has a keen interest in saving a landmark building.

UMass has long coveted this 1880s-era building for its potential re-use as an academic building. But a dispute between the city and state over how to convey the land to UMass— and whether the peninsula should remain home to any Water and Sewer facility— has hung up any plans for the site over the last decade.

There are limits to what can be done with the property today: A 1994 environmental study showed that the old pump station and the land around it were contaminated with heavy metals. But the entire peninsula was once a huge landfill— so there are ways to create a viable use for the building.

Now that there’s a deal in place, we expect that UMass Boston will find a good use for the building, whose castle-like look sets it apart from any other structure in the area. It will be a good service to Dorchester to save an important part of our history.

– Bill Forry

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