This summer, the city will work with residents and businesses to begin upgrading and beautifying Mattapan Square with $500,000 secured from a state bond bill.
“It’s not just brick and mortar. It’s something that is sustainable and that public works and the parks department can maintain for years to come,” Boston Public Works Commissioner Michael Dennehy told the Reporter after Monday morning’s announcement. Those improvements will include upgrading sidewalks and crosswalks, fixing broken bricks, replacing trash barrels, adding recycling receptacles, and more.
The grant was announced on Monday morning at Almont Park by Mayor Martin Walsh alongside State Reps Dan Cullinane and Russell Holmes, City Councillor Tim McCarthy, and State Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, wife of Reporter editor and publisher Bill Forry.
The funding was secured in last year’s state transportation bond bill and will go to the city to beautify Mattapan Square.
The community process to identify specific upgrades and fixes begins this month, according to city engineer Para M. Jayasinghe, with city officials hoping shovels will be in the ground before the end of the year.
“We’re trying to get the biggest bang for our buck,” said Dennehy. The key, he said, is to strike a balance between infrastructure improvements and beautification that will be sustainable for both the parks department and public works.
The money was not an easy get for the city. Though $500,000 was allocated in the most recent transportation bond bill, it is another hurdle for legislators to actually secure funding for the bill’s line items. On his last day in office, Gov. Deval Patrick approved the funding–the result of months of pursuit from members of the Mattapan delegation, including Cullinane who, as Gov. Patrick’s term wound down, called Patrick’s office daily to appeal for the measure and would seek him out at appearances in the district to make his case.
“We now have a real transfer of funds,” Cullinane told the crowd of 50 gathered at Almont Park. “Now we’ll deliver on that promise to make Mattapan Square a beautiful place to spend time.”
Walsh and the other elected officials remarked that for many years, Mattapan Square had been overlooked by legislators and city officials. “We want to make sure you get the attention you deserve. Your elected officials pushed and fought tooth and nail for the money to actually come.”
Forry also told the crowd that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation is working with the city’s transit department to conduct a traffic study in Mattapan Square.
“We want to make sure the money comes into Mattapan,” Forry said, “because for a long time, the money wasn’t coming.”
Holmes had a request to the dozens of neighborhood activists and familiar faces in the crowd: “Continue to demand from us as you have been demanding from us for all these years.”