Spring Cleaning in the Park This April 20—Sign Up Today!

A map of DCR parks on the Charles. Come lend a helping hand on Park Serve Day, this April 20.

A map of DCR parks on the Charles. Come lend a helping hand on Park Serve Day, this April 20. Image via DCR.

After a long, snowy winter, the first green shoots of spring are starting to pop up. In homes across the Commonwealth, families are shaking off the cobwebs, throwing open their windows, and welcoming the return of sunnier days. And just as families are planning for spring cleaning, so is the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

This April 20 marks the sixth annual Park Serve Day, a chance for people of all ages to pitch in around the Commonwealth’s parks. The DCR maintains more than 440,000 acres of public parkland, and they need your help to plant flowerbeds, trim shrubs, remove downed trees, repair trails, and much, much more. Last year, almost 4,800 people came out to volunteer their time and their sweat, and this year, I know we can do even better.

Sign up to volunteer for the Commonwealth’s sixth annual Park Serve Day here. Each park and beach is different, and each DCR park has different needs; you can find a list of the Park Serve activities for each park here. The majority of Cambridge’s Charles River shoreline is DCR property, so you don’t have to travel far to lend a helping hand. Do the right thing and help make our parks the best they’ve ever been.

Charles River Skatepark Designs Unveiled

Artist's rendering of new Charles River Skatepark

An artist’s rendering of the new Charles River Skatepark. When completed, the park will be the largest in New England. Photo courtesy of ASD/Santec and Charles River Conservancy.

As reported by the Beacon Hill Times, the latest plans for the largest skatepark in New England were recently unveiled. The new, 40,000-square-foot Charles River Skatepark  represents a group effort by the Charles River Conservancy, the Department of Conservation and Recreation, and Action Sports Design/Santec, a California-based company that specializes in the construction of skateparks.

This project has been a longtime coming, and it’s part of our plan to reclaim and beautify the Charles River and connect the Cambridge waterfront with Charlestown. I’m thrilled that yet another milestone has been passed.

Have you been to the new North Point Park yet? If not, get out and enjoy this amazing fall weather!

A Cleaner Charles River Coming

Efforts to clean up the Charles will be accelerated under a new settlement.

A renewed commitment to cleaning up the Charles River will preserve our community’s natural beauty for generations to come.

The Boston Water and Sewage Commission has reached an important agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Conversvation Law Foundation. As the Boston Globe reported earlier this week, the settlement represents the next step in the ongoing effort to clean up the Charles River and Boston Harbor.

Under the settlement, the Boston Water and Sewer Commission must locate the sources of pollution running into the Charles and clean them up on an aggressive schedule. The settlement also provides for “green makeovers” for three Boston neighborhoods along with a renewed attack on illegal sewer connections, which mix waste water with storm runoff. Some of the illegal connections are decades old and in poor condition, and the Boston Water and Sewage Commission has already identified at least 25 trouble spots to remove and replace.

I am thrilled that the Boston Water and Sewage Commission has renewed its commitment to cleaning up the Charles, and I’m proud of the way community groups such as the Charles River Watershed Association worked with the government to fix this problem in a smart way. A cleaner Charles River means a healthier, more beautiful community for all of us, and I will work with our neighbors and the Boston Water and Sewage Commission to complete this phase of the Charles River cleanup as smoothly and swiftly as possible.

Public Meetings for the Month of October

Charles River Basin Connectivity Study

Three public meetings have been scheduled to discuss the Mass Department of Transportation and the Mass Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Charles River Basin Connectivity study. This study is being carried out as a way for MassDOT to closely examine the various gaps that preclude a seamless connection across Charles River Basin bridges, their sidewalks, and adjacent intersections. The connectivity of the path system throughout the Charles River Reservation will also be studied. These meetings will serve as an opportunity for the public to hear from MassDOT’s design consultant before the study is carried out. The focus of the presentation will be on an analysis of the existing conditions in the Charles River corridor that has already been carried out.

Meetings will be held at the following times and locations:

  • Tuesday, October 11, 6:30 to 8 PM, Shriners Hospitals for Children, 51 Blossom Street, Boston
  • Thursday, October 13, 6:30 to 8 PM, Community Rowing Boathouse, 20 Nonantum Road, Brighton
  • Tuesday, October 18, 2011, 6:30 to 8 PM, Morse School Auditorium, 40 Granite Street, Cambridge
Green Line Extension Environmental Assessment

A public meeting will be held to discuss the Environmental Assessment of the Green Line Extension and potential interim project offsets that will be required due to the delay in the extension’s completion date. MassDOT will be taking suggestions for interim project offsets from the public, provided that suggestions conform to the following guidelines:

  • Proposed interim offset projects and measures have to be able to be in place by December 31, 2014.
  • Suggested projects or measures have to be within the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth, i.e., they cannot be private, local, or federal.
  • Quantifiable air quality benefits have to be associated with any potential interim offset project or measure.
  • Projects and measures that only reach their full potential once the GLX is in place are unlikely to work.
  • Proposed interim offset projects and measures are not required to be within the GLX corridor, but MassDOT understands the importance we put on this requirement.  It is worth noting here that for the Fairmount Line Improvement Project delays, MassDOT chose projects within the Fairmount corridor only.

This meeting will be held on:

  • Thursday, October 20, 2011, 6 p.m. open house, 6:30 p.m. hearing, Somerville High School, 81 Highland Avenue, Somerville