On Earth Day 2001, Save the Harbor/Save the Bay stood with Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino as he formally announced the City of Boston's support of the South Bay Harbor Trail to connect Boston's neighborhoods with Boston Harbor and the Emerald Necklace. At that time, the Mayor asked Save the Harbor's President Patricia Foley to partner with the City and to lead and manage the project, which we understood from the outset that would be a complicated one.
The South Bay Harbor Trail spans 5 neighborhoods - Roxbury, the South End, Chinatown, the Fort Point Channel and South Boston - on a route that crosses over bridges and under highways and includes dozens of parcels of public land owned by the City, the Commonwealth and the federal government, as well as privately owned parcels that are home to civic and cultural institutions, businesses and restaurants.
Working with our partners at the City of Boston, The Executive Office of Transportation, Mass Highway and South Bay Harbor Trail Coalition founder Michael Tyrrell we have organized scores of meetings with community organizations, local businesses and residents in every neighborhood along the route. Working with the public and with a remarkable team of planners, architects, engineers and designers (who have often worked for free) we have refined the concept, planned the route, and designed the public face of the Trail including signage, way finding elements, and public art.
Save the Harbor/Save the Bay and its partners raised nearly $1 million from foundation, corporate partners and local businesses to bring the idea from the back of an envelope to a formal design document ready for submission to government planning agencies for funding approval. Based on the strength of the project and the breadth and depth of its support, the project has secured $3.9 million in federal funds to finish the design and construct the portions of the Trail on public lands.
At the same time, with the support of our philanthropic partners, we also raised $150,000 to create a citizen-driven public art steering committee, and engaged the neighborhoods in an effort to develop a master plan for a signage and wayfinding system along the Trail. When completed in late 2010, the South Bay Harbor Trail will:
Connect Boston’s neighborhoods, which have been historically cut off from Boston Harbor, to the waterfront and the Boston Harbor Islands National Park. It will also connect the waterfront with the Emerald Necklace and beyond.
Provide healthy and safe recreational opportunities for Bostonians, and new connections to planned parks, public spaces, and civic and cultural destinations along the waterfront, including the Rose Kennedy Greenway the Boston Children's Museum, and the Institute of Contemporary Art at the Trail's terminus on Fan Pier.
Link people from these five neighborhoods to the new jobs and economic opportunities presented by Boston's renewed harbor and revitalized waterfront.
Build critical new transportation capacity into the South Boston waterfront and the emerging Fort Point Channel neighborhood, creating a new connection to public transportation and provide a safe mode of travel for residents to get to work, thereby reducing automobile traffic and vehicle emissions.
We are pleased to report that portions of the Trail at Crosstown Center and Gillette have been built. The Trail’s terminus, at Fan Pier, is well underway.
The City selected Design Consultants, Inc. and Pressley Associates to complete the final design of the South Bay Harbor Trail by this time next year. The team expects construction of the Trail to begin immediately thereafter, to be completed in 2010.
Today we are proud to unveil the first of a series of U.S. Coast Guard buoys that will mark the route of the South Bay Harbor Trail as it connects our City to the sea.
These Coast Guard channel markers and the signs that accompany them provide clear directions from our neighborhoods to Boston Harbor. They also each tell the story of the site's historic connections to Boston Harbor, and the opportunity that it provides to our all Bostonians, regional residents and visitors alike.
The inscription on the sign which accompanies the channel marker reads in part:
"For centuries Boston Harbor has been at the heart of our great waterfront city. Today, with miles of HarborWalk, the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, the 34 islands of the Boston Harbor Islands National Park, five public swimming beaches and some of the cleanest water in urban America, Boston's Harbor and waterfront are a great place to ride a bike, to take a walk, to swim, to fish, to sail, and to enjoy. The South Bay Harbor Trail connects Bostonians from across the City with America's past and our City's future on Boston Harbor."
Save the Harbor/Save the Bay is a non-profit public interest harbor advocacy organization. We are made up of thousands of citizens, as well as scientists, and civic, corporate, cultural and community leaders whose mission is to restore and protect Boston Harbor, Massachusetts Bay, and the marine environment and share them with the public for everyone to enjoy.