|mystic view task force|
DCR Begins Mystic River Park Land Planning
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation held the first of three planned community meetings for the Mystic River Reservation Master Plan on Wednesday evening, November 28, 2007, at the McGlynn School Auditorium in Medford. DCR senior planner Dan Driscoll described the scope of the study as extending along both sides of the Mystic River from the Harvard Avenue bridge (Medford to Arlington) to the Malden Bridge (Route 99, Alford St.). DCR aims to create a continuous path system along the river. About 95 % of the banks are in DCR ownership, a much higher proportion than in the Charles and Neponset River reservations. Driscoll described other projects that relate to the area:
Soccer game at Draw 7 Park with Mystic River & Amelia Earhart Dam in background
The meeting attracted members of the public with a diverse range of concerns about the river reservation, as well as five state legislators. Concerns, opportunities, and suggestions mentioned included:
Dan Driscoll noted that DCR is looking at maintenance, including locating places where mowing could be reduced. DCR is also looking at vistas that can be maintained under the Rivers Act without permitting by local Conservation Commissions.
Scenic walk through a section of the MDC parkland along the Mystic River.
The Mystic View Task Force is delighted that the Mystic River Reservation master planning process has finally gotten underway. We invited Dan Driscoll to our March 28, 2000, monthly meeting to speak about the MDC restoration project on the Upper Charles River which he had led. His presentation increased public interest in possibilities for the Mystic River. Later that year the legislature allocated $250,000 for a master plan study of this portion of the Mystic River reservation. The money appeared and disappeared through the takeover of the MDC by DCR and changes in gubernatorial administrations, finally coming to light again in the FY ’07 budget under Gov. Patrick. The Task Force also made contributions to the improvement of the Mystic River waterfront in Assembly Square through the negotiations we entered into with the developers at Assembly Square. IKEA agreed to fund the building of an underpass under Route 28 to make a pedestrian/bike connection to Ten Hills. (The prior city permit had required IKEA to fund the design of an underpass, but not to build it.) The developers also made commitments to improve other bike and pedestrian access routes to Assembly Square, improvements that will improve local access to the riverfront park as well. The new Orange Line stop that is proposed for Assembly Square (also owing its origin to MVTF advocacy) will greatly improve pedestrian access to the Mystic River reservation.
Two children "working hard" at play on the banks of the Mystic River.
MVTF Advocates remain concerned, however, that the approved route of the new main street through Assembly Square comes very close to the river; vigilance will be required to prevent harmful road runoff from reaching the river. Over the coming years, it will be critical for the public to monitor the continuing buildout of the site to make sure that public access to the river is enhanced.
Note: DCR aims to have a final version of the Mystic River Reservation Master Plan ready by summer 2008. We will post notices on this website of the next public meetings. Members of the public who are interested in the Assembly Square portion of the Mystic River Reservation can also attend meetings of the Assembly Square Public Advisory Committee. Future meetings will be noticed on this website. As Assembly Square development moves forward, there will also be public hearings held by the city prior to granting permits, and we will announce those as well.