September 11, 2017
I would like to again express my sincerest thanks the City Council for their measured and careful consideration of the intermodal facility/garage project as well as the extensive hours of work this project required of their time. This was an historic vote in our city I realize that this was not an easy decision and I appreciate every Councillor who stood up and voiced his opinion. I would also like to thank the public and acknowledge and thank my team at City Hall for all the hard work and effort they provided to achieve this historic vote; a very special thank you to Andy Port, Director of Planning and Ethan Manning, Finance Director. Please remember the main goal of this project is too finally move a minimum of 100 cars off of our central waterfront to finally create more open space/park that has been consistently favored by residents and significantly improve these lots.
Status update: We are continuing working with one of the tenants in relocating to their new site and a closing date on the property with NED is dependent on this move. We are working on scheduling the next Intermodal Advisory Group within the next 2-3 weeks and will send out the date as soon as we are confirmed. Bond Counsel is requesting a draft MOU on the facility operations and we have reached out to Joe Costanzo, MVRTA to initiate this process.
MEMA staff completed their final inspection of the alarm installation to the Air Vac system and were very impressed with the work completed. Each valve pit now has an alarm which is integrated with our technology systems and will provide alerts directly to staff phones. Staff attended training in Florida to upgrade skills on the integration and use of the new system.
Mobi-Mats: As a result of meetings with the residents and a grant from Coastal Zone Management, Mobi-Mats were installed at five main access points on the beach. These have been well-received by all beach users this summer and has tremendously helpful in directing foot traffic and keeping foot traffic off of the fragile dunes and dune grass.
Hydrant Replacement project will be initiated within the next two week as the contractor is working out final details with our engineering staff.
DPS is also working on the fall hydrant flushing schedule and once the schedule is finalize it will forward to City Councilors with information posted on the city website, notice in the local paper, and message boards will be used.
Rail Trail Update: website will be updated this week
- Recent work: The contractor and subcontractors have largely completed a boardwalk bridge behind the Starboard Galley restaurant, installed granite brick and granite curbing behind the Custom House and elsewhere, repaired scoured areas adjacent to the fish pier bulkhead, installed additional fencing, and continued to grade and shape the trail. The base course of paved trail has been completed for most of the corridor, concrete foundations are being installed for benches and signage, and the final course of paving is anticipated in early October (except for certain sections along the shoreline).
- March’s Hill area: The contractor mobilized large equipment at the beginning of September to shift and reshape the spur pathway and pull back the bulge of soil along the eastern edge of March’s Hill based on the recently approved revised plan. Tree wells and drainage work are currently being done, as well as additional shaping and grading. The contractor intends to substantially complete the trail work in this area (including paving, fencing, etc.) this fall of 2017, although the two new granite stairways to the park may be installed in the spring of 2018.
- Soil contamination area behind WWTF: The contractor is currently mobilizing to conduct additional soil sampling to fill in data gaps and better characterize the nature and extent of the soil contamination in a section of trail corridor behind the Wastewater Treatment Facility in order to fully develop the remediation cleanup plan. It is anticipated that the additional sampling will be conducted and then analyzed this fall, and then a final remediation plan for both removal and capping of soil will be developed by the consultants during the winter, and implemented by the contractor along with final construction of this section of trail in the spring of 2018. The City is hosting a public meeting on this subject on Thursday September 28 at 7pm in City Hall. This section will remain fenced off to the public until remediation is complete.
- National Grid substation area: National Grid plans to replace a destroyed seawall on their substation property adjacent to the rail trail, as well as adjacent to the American Yacht Club, with a new stone revetment this fall and winter of 2017-2018, somewhat similar to the shoreline revetment at Cashman Park. Final paving, benches, fencing, and landscaping of the trail in this section will be deferred until the spring of 2018 in order to avoid negative impacts from the utility contractor’s heavy equipment. This area will remain fenced off to the public until after this work is completed for safety purposes.
- Paving: Base coat is completed with the top and final coat to begin in early October and will include the entire Phase II RT with exception of the area behind the WWTF and NG substation area due to construction.
- Mural initiative: Selected local artists are finalizing paintings that will be printed as murals to be installed along the fenced section of trail south of Water Street. Installation is anticipated in the fall of 2017.
- Looking ahead: Underpass lighting may be installed under High Street this fall, as well as additional fencing and timber guardrails, plus concrete, brick, and granite work. In addition to the shoreline sections, landscaping plantings, signage, sculpture and other final elements will be completed in the spring of 2018.
Best Rail Trails of New England is featuring a story on our rail trail.
Tilton St. construction underway with expected completion in 3-4 weeks.
Phillips Drive: DPS is reviewing an ongoing field tested hydrology study, cameras in drainage pipes, scheduled clearing of natural debris of brook from Phillips Drive to Hoyt’s Drive. Review of original Cherry Hill development plans. We are working to schedule an update with the residents of this neighborhood by the end of the month.
Market Sq. Project ready to move forward awaiting timeline from contractor but anticipate beginning in the by late September and lasting 4-6 weeks.
Wastewater Treatment Facility: construction project moving forward well with the new temporary carbon filters increasing flow by 4x the previous system. The new flooring base for the biofilter will be poured this week. The first clarifier cover will be delayed as it was coming from Houston. Once again, no odor complaints this past month.
On June 12th the City Council passed a traffic ordinance by a 10-1 vote requiring all non-posted City streets adopt a 25 m.p.h. speed limit. Approximately 10 signs are currently being installed by DPS at our City’s entrance ways.
The results of the drilling was compiled in report you received from AECOM and we are establishing a peer review process with Woodward & Curran, engineering firm, to review the findings, particularly groundwater levels and the construction documents.
Landfill: The latest meeting with the New Ventures, AG, DEP and Judge was cancelled and we have not heard of a rescheduled date; KP Law participates on the city’s behalf. I have requested an assessment of the wells to determine the level of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) remaining in the landfill; 6 years ago was the last testing and roughly 68% of H2S was reportedly burned off. Members of the Energy Advisory Committee and my office met with Blue Wave Solar who has received preliminary support from DEP to move forward in placing solar on the landfill.
NRA/WFT/City: As you are aware, following the completion of the council’s ad hoc group, the city was requested to work with the stakeholders to complete revisions to the Waterfront Trust documents. First, we had to achieve consensus on what we were modifying and using items from the Trust, key areas identified by Trustees and the consensus document approved by the City Council, we have reached 95% consensus. The lawyers representing the NRA and WFT are now taking this information and incorporating into the modification. When the information is drafted, we will hold our next meeting.
Mayor Gayden Morrill Charitable Foundation: The annual meeting of the foundation was held on September 8th and Lise Reid presented updates on the status of last year’s funding and requests recommended by the Parks Commission for FY18 totaling $102,000. We anticipate review and notification of the Foundation’s approved projects in November.
Recreational Marijuana: Now that the legislature has passed the new bill, it is necessary for the City to address the affirmative vote our community casted on recreational marijuana. As you recall we established zoning for medical marijuana and we need to address recreational. Andy Port, Planning Director is scheduling a meeting with Youth Services, Superintendent, Police, Health, Mayor and a City Councilor would be a welcomed addition.
Joint Meeting of School Committee and City Council: September 18th at 6 pm in room 118 at NHS for the purpose of filling the vacated, unexpired term of a school committee member. Richard Jones, City Clerk has sent out additional informal on the four candidates and process.
Salute to Veterans Concert and Celebration of Nick & Cynthia Costello’s 25 years of work at the Maudslay Art Center.
Special Tribute to Jonathan Woodman & Jack Bradshaw:
On Saturday a beautiful ceremony to honor Jonathan & Jack for their dedication and commitment to preserving downtown; they were instrumental in changing the course of urban renewal from the tradition of demolition to a national model of preservation. There was a wonderful turnout of our community and thank you City Councilors for attending.
Exchange Club 8th Annual Field of Honor: a wonderful tribute to active duty personnel, veterans and our First Responders. FF Fred Elwell has been deployed with MA Task Force 1 USAR to US Virgin Islands and probably to Florida.