By Mayor Martin J. Walsh
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 more than 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 Dorchester, 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 municipal services.
This year, we are investing in our open spaces and parks, because we know how important equitable and accessible access is in our neighborhoods. The $20 million that we are allocating to Dorchester’s parks and open spaces will go to many different projects throughout our neighborhood:
Garvey Playground is being allocated $5 million for a park renovation that includes renovations to the play lot, along with field improvements, lighting, pathways, and court upgrades. Some $6.7 million will be used to renovate Harambee Park. Multipurpose soccer and lacrosse fields will be renovated, in addition to an extension to the main pedestrian pathway, improvements to lighting, and installation of new plantings. McConnell playground is receiving $3.8 million for a comprehensive renovation.
In addition, the refurbishment of the play lot at Doherty-Gibson playground will be allocated $1.1 million; $550,000 will be used for design park improvements to the Odom Serenity Garden; we have allocated $1 million to upgrade the play lots at Dorchester Park and Thetford Evans Playground. We are also investing $425,000 to design comprehensive park improvements to the Ryan Play Area and Mother’s Rest at Four Corners. Finally, we are investing $3 million for artificial turf field replacements, including the turf at Ceylon Park.
We also care about the future of our city in the face of climate change. That is why $3.3 million in citywide climate resiliency planning efforts are being invested in Dorchester. This includes climate proofing of the Dorchester Bay and Moakley Park.
Likewise, we know the importance of investing in safe, reliable, and equitable street and transportation infrastructure. That’s why we are investing the money needed to update roads and intersections throughout Dorchester, including $1.5 million for New England Avenue. This funding will be used to reconstruct the road, sidewalks, and lighting from Talbot Avenue to Norfolk Street. Another $500,000 will be used to reconfigure an existing pedestrian island on Massachusetts Avenue and create a bike lane from Columbia Road to Melnea Cass.
We are also investing in studying transportation, with $100,000 set aside to conduct a transportation study of the Bowdoin Street and Geneva Avenue area.
Additionally, we are investing in the future of Dorchester by investing in high-quality facilities and infrastructure for the neighborhood. We have allocated $24.7 million to design and construct a new Engine 17 fire station, along with $500,000 for building renovations at the Boston Fire Department Headquarters building. This renovation will include the installation of a new security gate. Finally, $3.2 million will be used to replace the air handler units at UP Academy.
In Boston, we know one of the best ways to invest in our city is by prioritizing investments in our students and their learning facilities. In our capital plan, $7.1 million has been allocated for the Henderson Inclusion Lower School to replace windows; $1 million will be used to replace the roof at the Everett School; and $1 million will be spent on a comprehensive education and space plan that supports the future use of the McCormack School building.
We also know how important libraries are for all our communities and this budget supports 21st century library services. In the coming years, Dorchester will be the home of three new library branches: at Adams Street, Uphams Corner, and Fields Corner. In addition, $226,000 will be used for an interior reconfiguration project and renovations to the Lower Mills Branch Library. And $100,000 has been allocated to conduct a facility assessment at the Codman Square Branch library.
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 has 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 Investment Plan and how this budget was created, go to budget.boston.gov.