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Mayor Wu announces next steps to enhance coastal resilience in East Boston

The City will launch the first coastal resilience project that will span multiple private properties to protect the East Boston community from current and future flooding


Today, Mayor Wu announced that the City of Boston is seeking proposals to build climate resilience for the central Border Street waterfront in East Boston. Under this procurement, the City will award up to $1.5 million for technical services, facilitation, and engagement support for this project. Identified as a critical flood risk area in Coastal Resilience Solutions for East Boston (Phase I), this is the first Climate Ready Boston project to advance the design of a district-scale coastal resilience strategy solely on private property. The City released a Request for Proposals (RFP) on Monday, October 30 to design coastal resilience strategies on a near-term flood pathway to protect residents in an environmental justice community. 

Through this process, the City seeks technical services to complete engineering assessments and site investigations, landscape design, and permitting as well as facilitation support to work with the property owners, the East Boston community, and state agencies. The City aims to develop coastal resilience strategies that reflect the needs of diverse stakeholders and community members by facilitating a process that provides long-term flood risk reduction, allows property owners to incorporate specific site needs, and reflects the community’s priorities for open space and waterfront access.

 “It is critical that we equip East Boston with climate-resilient infrastructure to ensure that generations of residents can thrive in the neighborhood without being harmed by coastal flooding and its effects,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “I’m excited to release this request for proposals and work toward our mission to protect East Bostonians from the harms of climate change through coastal resilient development and supports.”

The focus area will extend from approximately 40 New Street/60 Border Street to the Mario Umana School, involving private properties between Border Street and the water. The entire project area and its surroundings fall within state-designated environmental justice block groups. When this area floods, surrounding residences, businesses, and critical infrastructure, such as the MBTA Blue Line, are at risk.

“The City of Boston is committed to prioritizing the flood risks in our coastal neighborhoods,” said Reverend Mariama White-Hammond, Chief of Environment, Energy and Open Space. “Residents in East Boston bear a disproportionate burden of climate impacts in our City. The core of our coastal resilience work on Border Street will focus on protecting our residents from the danger of flooding.”

Design work will focus predominantly on the water's edge and complete a range of design concepts that could successfully protect the area from flooding while holistically reflecting the needs and desires of the East Boston community. The design process will explore opportunities for coastal resilience infrastructure that reduces flood risk while working within the Designated Port Area boundary that spans the majority of the project area. With the combination of green infrastructure, such as trees, bioretention features, and porous paving, and gray infrastructure, such as elevated structures and seawalls, the City aims to deliver multiple benefits to the East Boston community. These benefits include improving stormwater management, reducing the urban heat island effect, and enhancing connectivity along and access to the East Boston waterfront.

“District One is the perfect spot to launch this initiative dedicated to funding for coastal resilience, recognizing the sheer amount of coastline to protect right here,” said City Councilor Gabriela Coletta. “East Boston is uniquely vulnerable to coastal flooding and this initiative is vital to protecting residents in the Maverick Central area. Boston’s coastline is vital to our culture and economy and we must engage in district-wide coastal resilience because the climate crisis is real, it’s here now, and we need action.”

“This initiative is going to protect not just a few parcels of land along the water, but whole areas of the nearby neighborhood – from Maverick Landing to Atlantic Works – from flooding in the near future,” said Sal Colombo, Deputy Director of East Boston Community Development Corporation. “We could not be more excited that Mayor Wu and her administration are prioritizing this type of resiliency work in East Boston, where we are facing the threats of climate change every day.”

This work builds on Mayor Wu’s Green New Deal and the City’s priority of creating resilient and thriving communities. Last month, the City of Boston was awarded a Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) grant of $330,500 to advance the design of coastal resilience strategies extending along Bennington Street in East Boston and Frederick's Park in Revere. The City of Boston has also completed coastal resilience plans for Boston’s 47-mile coastline, including neighborhood-level studies in East Boston, Charlestown, Downtown/North End, Dorchester, and South Boston. Additionally, Climate Ready Boston released the 2022 Heat Plan that outlines 28 strategies to address the effects of heat on Boston’s environmental justice neighborhoods

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