Op-Ed: Committed to Improving the City’s Environmental Resources

By Deanna Deveney, Esq.

Over the last several years, the Everett Waterfront has undergone quite the transformation. From improving the water quality to creating more green spaces and waterfront recreation, Mayor Carlo DeMaria has remained committed to improving the city’s environmental resources and creating more public access to the waterfront.

Most recently, the Island End River was “daylighted,” or freed from previously collapsed debris, which was causing severe flooding issues in the city. The river, which was one of the most polluted bodies of water in the Mystic River Watershed, now flows into an environmentally friendly stream and successfully raised its EPA rating from an F to a B-.  Although this was only Phase 1 of a larger initiative, it has already greatly improved the visual appeal of the area.

If you’ve visited the Harborwalk at Encore, then you already know about its beautiful waterfront, but you may not know exactly what went into making it that way. The process involved dredging pollutants and putting down clean sand, which helped marine life return to the waters. They also creating a living shoreline – one of only two in Massachusetts – which is a more natural barrier versus a typically used seawall. What was once a contaminated Montesanto chemical plant has now become a major point of pride within the city. 

Beyond the Harborwalk, you’ll find a walking path to Gateway Park, which has further opened up previously inaccessible waterfront.  Keep heading north and you’ll find Rivergreen Park. A former GE site, this Malden River strip of land has been completely overhauled.

There are now more than two miles of shoreline available for public enjoyment, including playgrounds, parks, ballfields and a kayak and a canoe launch, which has long been a goal of the Mayor, and became a reality last year thanks to a partnership with the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA). But this is only the beginning… A vision plan is currently underway for a Riverwalk that will include many more amenities and improvements. Some ideas are a seating plaza at Gateway Park, a mooring field, an overlook pier, an additional kayak launch at Gateway mall and a seating area, a boardwalk, additional shade structures and improvements to Village Landing Park.  A community boathouse and crew dock for the high school is also in the works at Rivergreen Park. Vegetation is being thinned for better views across the area, and there are plans for an extension of the Everett Riverwalk up to National Grid, ultimately connecting with the Malden Riverwalk.

Everett’s Fermentation District is another example of new waterfront accessibility. This up-and-coming neighborhood is home to several breweries and distilleries and will soon be the site of a new housing development. It has become a destination for both residents and visitors and has furthered Everett’s stock as a desirable place to live.

At a recent public forum and the city’s Earth Day celebration, the Mayor further discussed his Riverfront Development Plan, which was prepared by Shadley Associates and made possible by the MWRA and Friends of the Malden River. You can view the plan here: https://fb.watch/5C8HKljT3u/.

As Mayor DeMaria remains focused on his vision of a fully restored waterfront and giving complete access of the river back to the people, it’s safe to say that the development will only continue to make Everett a more beautiful, clean, and safe community for all.

 Deanna Deveney, Esq.

is the Director of

Communications for the

City of Everett.

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