RE: [MysticCrossing] Somerville, Everett seek to span Mystic
MessageI was very happy with the day...we did a good job!Officer Patrick JohnstonEverett Police Marine Division617-905-3747-----Original Message-----
From: Lwarsh@... [mailto:Lwarsh@...]
Sent: Sunday, April 25, 2004 3:32 PM
Subject: RE: [MysticCrossing] Somerville, Everett seek to span MysticGREAT!!! I was so happy to see it in Metro section this morning!I hope you thought it was as successful as it seemed to be!Talk to you soon!
Lucy A. Warsh
Public Information Officer
Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone
City Of Somerville
93 Highland Avenue
Somerville, MA 02144
617-625-6600 ext. 2614
617-625-3434 fax-----Original Message-----
From: EPDMARINE [mailto:EPD.Marine@...]
Sent: Sunday, April 25, 2004 8:38 AM
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Subject: [MysticCrossing] Somerville, Everett seek to span MysticSomerville, Everett seek to span Mystic
By Caroline Louise Cole, Globe Correspondent, 4/25/2004
Now they have to meet by water taxi, but someday they hope to walk.
Officials from Somerville and Everett shook hands in the middle of the Mystic River yesterday to highlight the need for a pedestrian bridge to link their communities and a growing network of area bicycle and hiking trials.
The state Department of Conservation and Recreation has earmarked $250,000 to design a commuter bike path over the Amelia Earhart Dam, which spans the river behind the Gateway Shopping Center in Everett and the Assembly Square Mall in Somerville. The funds come from a $1 million fine the EPA assessed on Exelon Northeast in January for violating the Clear Air Act at its Everett power station along the Mystic River.
But area officials, including Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone and Robert Van Campen, Everett Board of Aldermen president, said they fear the funds will be swallowed up by a long, bureaucratic planning process instead of being used immediately to replace the existing catwalk over the dam with a safe pedestrian bridge.
"A walkway like what we are proposing already exists over the Charles River Dam, which is the sister to this one," Van Campen said as a brisk wind kicked up whitecaps under a sparkling blue sky. "We are very pleased the state is recognizing the river for what it could be in terms of recreation, but we're asking for a retrofit to the dam, not something overly complicated that is going to take years."
The Amelia Earhart Dam was constructed in the mid-1960s to provide flood control to the Mystic River Basin. A system of three locks allows pleasure craft passage from Boston Harbor through to Medford Square, Van Campen said.
Katie Ford, a spokeswoman for Katherine F. Abbott, commissioner of the state Conservation and Recreation Department, said the state is committed to putting in a walkway, but the first step is to make sure it's properly designed.
"We are always excited about the opportunity to connect communities and important coastal resources," said Ford, who gave no specific timetable for the work. "The challenge we face and the reason we have to do some thorough design work ahead of time is that we have to make sure the walkway doesn't compromise the essential function of the dam."
At yesterday's event, which was sponsored by WalkBoston, a nonprofit group that promotes walking, local officials acknowledged the dam's important role in flood control but said there must be a simple, quick way to link their communities.
"The Mystic River is one of the most underutilized recreational assets in the state and is an important resource for both our communities," Curtatone said.
"The walkway over the dam is an important link for the bike and walking trial system that is being developed to connect our two communities to Boston and eventually the North Shore."
Both communities have been working to open river access to the public over the last decade, with new trail systems in place along the shorelines as well as in neighboring Medford, said Beth Debski, Everett's city planner.
"The problem is that without a link over the river, which is about 900 feet wide at the dam, it is a 4-mile walk, and you have to go through Medford," she said.
A walkway over the dam would also allow residents of Somerville's Assembly Square neighborhood easier access to the Wellington MBTA station on the Medford-Everett line and to the new Gateway Shopping Center. Everett residents would have a shortcut to shopping and work in Somerville and Boston, Van Campen noted.
"At a time when activity and development in the entire area is thriving and is now favoring recreation over industry, a pedestrian link between the communities is vital," he said.
Caroline Louise Cole can be reached at cole@....
This story ran on page B3 of the Boston Globe on 4/25/2004.
© Copyright 2003 Globe Newspaper Company.Officer Patrick JohnstonEverett Police Marine Division617-905-3747