Guest Op-ed: How We’re Investing in Back Bay

By Mayor Martin J. Walsh

Every spring, we release our Capital Investment Plan which funds the critical improvements to our infrastructure and facilities in Boston over a five-year period. It is a reflection of our priorities, and is guided by the voices of over 15,000 residents who offered input for our citywide plan, Imagine Boston 2030. Our Capital Plan funds the essentials of community life, such as our schools, streets, libraries, and parks, including climate and resilience projects. It’s a commitment to all those who call Boston home and to our future generations.

Here in Back Bay, we’re making investments across a wide range of projects, including parks and open space, streets and transportation, our schools’ infrastructure, and our delivery of City services.

We’ll finish the $18.3 million Massachusetts Avenue bridge over Commonwealth Avenue project.We believe that funding infrastructure and transportation efforts is crucial in order to make navigating Boston safe, reliable, and equitable.

In addition to the Mass Ave bridge, we’ve also devoted $12.6 million towards designing and renovating the Dalton Street bridge to extend its life in order to support the transportation needs in and around Boylston Street. Also, we’re investing $3.8 million in reconstructing the sidewalks on Boylston Street. The next phase will be on the north side of the block  from Exeter to Fairfield Street.

We believe that funding accessible community spaces is critical in keeping Boston not only a beautiful city, but also an open and welcoming one. That’s why we’re allocating $1.5 million to upgrade the play equipment at Clarendon Street playground for families to enjoy. We’re also redesigning Copley Square Park with a $500,000 budget in order to optimize its resiliency to high-traffic events and storm water. We hope residents can continue to utilize these spaces in years ahead.

We’ve also funded a number of longer-term projects designed to create growth and opportunity in each neighborhood for the coming years. 

With an eye towards the future and our city’s response to climate change, we’re planning to assess and develop a plan for resiliency with our Climate Ready Boston Harbor Study. This will examine possible measures along and within the Boston Harbor to reduce vulnerability of coastal flooding due to sea level rise.

With this Capital Plan, we’re investing heavily in high-quality facilities and infrastructure improvements to better serve residents. We’ve put $2 million towards replacing the roof at Snowden International School, as well as another $435,000 for renovations to an existing staff restroom at our Central Library’s Johnson Building.

Now that we’ve submitted Boston’s budget, where do we go from here? First, to the City Council, where it will be reviewed and adjusted as necessary. After it’s gone through that process and secured approval, it will go into effect, starting in July 2020 and running throughout the next 12 months. We hope you will continue to provide your valuable input on what we as a city can do to raise up your community. If you’d like to learn more about the Capital Plan and how this budget was created, please go to budget.boston.gov.

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