Any time the City and Encore Boston Harbor break ground on an amenity unlocking the walled-off waterfront for Everett, Mayor Carlo DeMaria recalls – as many in Everett to – the times when a place like the old, formerly toxic GE site was off-limits.
Now, Encore Boston Harbor is about to transform part of that old site from no-go territory into a riverfront family-friendly playground and park that will be the envy of all.
“For years we weren’t allowed to go to or couldn’t get to the waterfront,” he said on Monday during the groundbreaking ceremony for the new park. “It’s a tribute to Everett that our residents can now have access this River. I remember back to 2012 and come here today and see how far we’ve come. It’s amazing. I don’t think a lot of people reflect on it and give it enough attention…We don’t realize all of the positives. I don’t think you can ever be able to measure that. This groundbreaking is not just for a playground, but also the rebirth of the waterfront from an industrial, polluted, blighted area. This playground will be the heart of a great new neighborhood.”
DeMaria said that Encore has spent $68 million in total to clean up the contaminated sites in Everett for development and amenities.
Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox was also on hand for the groundbreaking, and he was accompanied by several young students from the Madeleine English School just a few hundred yards from the future playground.
“We believe successful companies don’t just invest in their product and their employees,” he said. “We believe they also invest in their communities. Great companies have great partnerships with their communities…We believe if you invest in your communities, your communities will invest in you.”
Speaking directly to the kids, he added, “It’s going to be an extraordinary playground.”
Sen. Sal DiDomenico said the project is the gift that keeps on giving to Everett.
“When we passed the gaming legislation years ago, we could have never believed it would be this big,” he said. “We thought it would be a small development, but this is huge and it has brought so much to Everett. Wynn and Encore are doing a lot for our residents, our seniors and our children.”
The groundbreaking was also the signal for the construction of the second half of the RiverWalk. The first half was completed in April, but is awaiting the finishing touches at the moment. Now, the second part will be completed and will connect back to the Northern Strand Community Trail – also known as the bike path.
Amber Christoffersen of Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) said the park and Riverwalk are an emerging and exciting part of the Malden Greenway Plan, which is coming together quickly.
“A vision plan like we have could take 10 to 25 years to see progress,” she said. “To see we completed that plan only last year and are already seeing progress shows things are happening and helps others to believe that the change on the Malden River can happen.”
The new playground is approximately one mile from the casino site, and also serves partly as a business relocation area for former businesses from Lower Broadway that wished to stay in Everett.
Wynn Announces major gift to Greater Lawrence relief efforts
Wynn Resorts CEO Matt Maddox announced Monday that Encore Boston Harbor will donate $100,000 to support residents of Greater Lawrence who were impacted by the natural-gas disaster that struck their community last week. In addition to the donation, Maddox announced efforts to help residents of Greater Lawrence find jobs and start careers at Encore Boston Harbor, which is ramping up hiring for a June, 2019 opening.
“Our corporate family is comprised of more than 25,000 individuals of all cultures and backgrounds who genuinely care about the communities where we live and work in,” said Maddox. “Several members of the Encore Boston team live in the Merrimack Valley, and two of our managers were born and raised in Lawrence and still have connections there, so this hits close to home. We have to remember that during tough times, we need to step up and make a difference.”
Everett City Councilor Michael McLaughlin, who represents the casino site area, was he was particularly moved by the gesture Monday, even though it was miles from his district in Everett.
“I have been proud since 2012 to support Wynn Resorts coming into our community, but for me one of the shining moments came on Monday afternoon when CEO Matt Maddox announced that Wynn Resorts would be donating $100,000 to the victims of the Columbia Gas explosion in the Merrimack Valley region,” he said. “I truly believe this showed a strong commitment from this group to not only the betterment of lives and quality of our community but the benefit and support of residents in Massachusetts.”
To help provide job opportunities to the residents of Lawrence, whose city has one of the highest unemployment rates in Massachusetts, Encore Boston Harbor will:
- Host job fairs in Greater Lawrence to help individuals match their skills with jobs at the resort.
- Offer citizenship and English-as-second-language classes to residents
- Earmark 25 scholarships for Greater Lawrence residents to the Greater Boston Gaming Career Institute, which trains people to become dealers at Encore Boston Harbor