Port Norfolk rehab by 2014? State officials are saying yes

Port Norfolk residents, many of whom have been waiting for the state to clean up a 14-acre lot for 30 years, say Department of Conservation and Recreation officials have finally given them a timeline: The project should be completed by 2014.

“I think we’re making progress,” said Mary McCarthy, the head of the Port Norfolk Civic Association, while some members, because the project has been promised for so long, are looking to get an agreement in writing.

McCarthy urged her fellow civic association members, nearly a dozen of whom gathered at the Port Norfolk Yacht Club on Tuesday night, to press Gov. Deval Patrick to fund the clean-up.

Known as the Shaffer Paper site, the area is located near the MBTA bridge on the northern shore of the Neponset River. It was previously owned by the Shaffer Paper Company and has been used in the past as a lumber yard, a metal fabricating company, and a manufacturer of wooden tubs. The grounds are contaminated with hazardous materials and require a clean-up.

Residents have been pushing for a decontamination of the area, as well as for a pine grove, a stone-dust path, a tot lot, and a playground for decades.

In 2008, state lawmakers included $7 million in an environmentally-focused borrowing bill to rehabilitate the site and create a park. The release of the funds is up to the governor.

McCarthy said state officials have told her the money won’t be available this year. Still, she gives credit to the offices of state Sen. Jack Hart (D-South Boston) and state Rep. Marty Walsh (D-Dorchester) for “pounding the governor’s office” to release the money.

“We’re holding their feet to the fire,” she said of the governor’s office. “We’ve seen other areas get bike paths and everything else.”