City sets $76.6m in capital funds for Mattapan and Dorchester

By 
Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Apr. 21, 2011

Playgrounds in Dorchester and Mattapan will be refurbished, a Mattapan community center will be renovated, and an Uphams Corner municipal building will see its roof and gutters replaced under a City Hall five-year capital spending plan released last week.

In total, Mayor Thomas Menino’s capital budget for fiscal years 2012 through 2016 funnels $57.4 million to Dorchester and $19.2 million to Mattapan. The $1.7 billion capital budget, which has $169 million in new project authorizations in fiscal year 2012, is funded through a mix of city bonds, state and federal grants, and some trust funds.

Out of the 17 neighborhoods that the city’s capital plan funding takes into account, Dorchester placed fourth in total spending, while Mattapan came in ninth. Roxbury is first, with $172 million, much of that due to the $115 million effort to move the Boston Public Schools offices into Dudley Square’s Ferdinand Building.

The city also plans to spend $32.5 million to renovate 1010 Massachusetts Ave. to support the relocation of the Boston Fire Department headquarters to the site near the South Bay Shopping Center.

Some Dorchester and Mattapan projects are already in the construction phase, such as the federally funded $18.5 million overhaul of Dorchester Avenue and reconstructions of Andrew Square, Glover’s Corner, Fields Corner, and Peabody Square. They are due to be finished next year. In Mattapan, the $3.4 million replacement of the American Legion Bridge, funded through the state, is underway.

A complete renovation of the Mattahunt Community Center remains unscheduled. City officials pulled Boston Centers for Youth and Families staff out of the center and Wheelock College is taking over its programming.

The $5.8 million renovation of the center includes exterior masonry repairs, gym improvements, upgrades to the locker room and athletic areas, pool and dehumidification systems, plumbing, electrical and interior painting, according to a breakdown of Dorchester and Mattapan projects provided by city officials.

Replacement of the Mattahunt School’s windows and exterior walls, as well as the roof, the gym building and connecting bridge, has an $8.8 million price tag and is in the design phase. Refurbishment of the Hunt/Almont Playground, a 17.8 acre spread near Almont St. and Blue Hill Ave., is also in the design phase and is expected to cost $1.3 million.

A new project on the Dorchester side of the ledger is the $50,000 repair and rebuilding of a retaining wall at Dorchester Park.

Several projects remain in the design phase: Upgrades to the Strand Theatre in Uphams Corner, costing $7.7 million; renovations to various playgrounds, including Cronin/Wainwright Park, Martin Playground, and Erie Ellington Playground; and replacing the roof and gutters of the Uphams Corner Municipal Building. The $3.9 million project will also install a new boiler in the building, which currently houses the Uphams Corner Library and a health center.

The capital budget also includes $13 million to cover site acquisition, design constructions and furnishings for a new Uphams Corner Library. Developers of the former St. Kevin’s school property nearby are working with the city relocate the library in one of their new residential buildings planned for the site.

The capital spending plan also sets aside $1.4 million for the Adams Street branch library to assess interior space requirements of the children and adult sections, and replace windows, front doors, roof, and flooring.

The Area C-11 Station will also get fixed up, with roof replacement, cell block and booking area renovations, and upgrades to the public bathrooms and fire alarm systems, costing $4 million.