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Walsh announces capital investments in parks, libraries

Trea Lavery

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh announced this week his capital plan for fiscal years 2020 through 2024, a list of city-sponsored improvement projects which span education, transportation, public safety and open space upgrades totaling $2.78 billion.

The capital plan follows Walsh’s Imagine Boston 2030 goals, which outline how the Walsh administration plans to improve the city and opportunities for its residents by the city’s 400th birthday, as well as other similar plans.

Notable projects outlined in the new capital plan include the ongoing $17.2 million renovation to the Dudley branch of the Boston Public Library, as well as the completion of a study focusing on a potential new library branch at Field’s Corner. There will also be a $15.7 million renovation at the main library branch in Copley Square.

Also on the capital plan are numerous improvements to Boston’s open spaces, large and small. Many of these are within Roxbury, including:

  • Improvements to Franklin Park, Boston’s largest green space, which Walsh outlined in a $23 million investment earlier this month.
  • A $1.34 million upgrade to Walnut Park playground.
  • Replacement of the artificial turf fields at Madison Park, a $3 million project.
  • A $500,000 renovation at Malcolm X Park, excluding its fields, which were recently renovated.

 

The plan also expands the city’s Green Links program, which would connect green spaces throughout Boston with pedestrian and bicycle paths.

Walsh’s capital plan also includes money to improve public safety, including resources for Emergency Medical Services and the Fire Department, and $1.2 billion to improve road safety for pedestrians and cyclists, through infrastructure improvements to intersections, sidewalks, traffic lights and more.

Another major investment is in Boston Public Schools buildings, where the city has set aside $543 million for various projects, including new and ongoing renovations and building at the Eliot School, the former McCormack School building and the Boston Arts Academy. Up to 30 BPS schools will also receive renovations to their cafeteria kitchens this summer.

The city has already invested heavily in creating and preserving affordable housing through Community Preservation Act funds and revenue from the state’s Room Excise Tax, as Walsh has announced at various points so far this year, but the capital plan also includes an additional $30 million for improvements to Boston Housing Authority’s public housing.

Finally, Walsh’s plan sets aside $80 million to rebuild the Long Island Bridge, which connects Quincy to the island on which the mayor plans to establish a drug rehabilitation facility.

“This is a budget with a big heart,” Walsh said in a statement. “It reflects our best values: our belief that every single person is worthy of dignity and hope and opportunity. It’s going to improve quality of life in all our neighborhoods, and it will continue to generate opportunities for our residents for generations to come.”

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