By Seth Daniel
The Friends of the Malden River met in Everett for the first time in a long time, and announced that long-awaited test results on exposure to the river and its sediments would come in March.
On other Malden River news, the Wynn Boston Harbor team announced they would likely be opening the first part of the River Walk at the GE site as early as April.
For the river tests, all of the test borings in the River and other sediment retrievals have been completed and the analysis is now being done. The tests will study human health-risk assessments for those using and recreating on the Malden River.
“By March, we anticipate all of that will be done and we will have a presentation to share with all of the information,” said Andy Hrycyna, a watershed scientist with the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA).
The work is a group effort with the Radiant Corporation as the environmental engineers and MIT doing the analysis. The testing will look for contaminants such as toxics, organic compounds, pesticides, petroleum, heavy metals and PCBs.
The analysis will do all of the calculations, including those that will look at the health risk to a typical boater or user on the Malden River.
Those tests have been anticipated for some time, especially for the Malden High, Mystic Valley Regional Charter School and Everett High crew teams. Already, using many years of data, they have developed a flag system on the river to let users know when it is safe and when it isn’t.
Typically, 24 hours after a rain storm is the peak time for users to be cautious of the river.
Meanwhile, the Wynn Boston Harbor team had a presentation on their progress at the RiverGreen site – which is the former GE site on the Malden River in Everett.
The new project manager, Kim Ripley, said that the RiverWalk South portion of the project should be open in the spring, perhaps as soon as April.
“It is coming along really well and will be complete in the spring of 2018,” she said. “The exact date depends on the weather, but if we have a dry spring, it could be earlier.”
The RiverWalk South portion of the project will include a scenic overlook, a parking area, and a winding path that will start on Air Force Road and go throughout the site. There will also be a shade shelter, and unique metal benches with cutouts of nature scenes.
Ripley said one part they are excited about are three custom way-finding signs and one large historical interpretation sign. That sign, which was researched by Nancy Napolitano and Michael Matarazzo, includes the history of the site – from its dredging for industrial uses in the late 1800s to the work GE did in the aircraft industry there for WWII to the current move to return it to its natural state.
“The signage is one part of the project we are very excited about,” Ripley said.
The RiverWalk South will also coincide with the new RiverGreen Drive that bisects the new park and brings traffic to the new Freightliner Boston site – which will also be completed in the spring.
At the moment, about 75 percent of the rough grading of the RiverWalk South has been completed, and 50 percent of the sub-base for the walkway is complete.
She said they are hoping the weather will cooperate so they can get the first layer of asphalt binder down on the pathway before the asphalt plants close for the season.
The park area has been remediated, she said, with a three foot layer of clean dirt. It is safe for plants, animals and humans.
The RiverWalk North part of the project will be in conjunction with the redevelopment of the sports fields on the GE site and the current 7-acre Park site. When that project commences, the last piece of the walkway will also be completed.
That walkway will wind around the back of the site and end at the Northern Strand Community Path. However, it is hoped that a RiverWalk will be built on the National Grid site bordering the GE site. That potential pathway could connect to the Wynn paths to make a contiguous walkway along the river.
Mayor Carlo DeMara and State Rep. Joe McGonagle were in attendance at the meeting, and led it off with a welcome message. Both said they were completely on board with the mission of getting the Malden River back into the hands of the people.