By Katy Rogers
In October, it was announced that Wynn Boston Harbor planned to collaborate with the City of Everett to develop the property of the former General Electric site in Everett, a property that had long been closed off from the public and from successful development due to historic contamination on the site and the unwillingness of GE to sign off on any proposed clean up plans.
However, when Wynn stepped to the plate, GE was more willing to work with the City and a plan began to come into focus that could change recreation in Everett for generations.
The plan, which includes the existing Seven Acre Park, has been expanded to create a large 10.5-acre public park containing multiple sports and recreational areas for residents to enjoy, thanks for the inclusion of the former GE property. In this plan, the former Lynde Street Park down the Line will be replaced.
During Monday evening’s Council meeting, on Nov. 14, a proposal was presented for Lynde Street Park land to be transferred to the Everett Redevelopment Authority, which would then transfer it to Wynn to be used temporarily for parking.
Councilor Mike McLaughlin questioned Mayor Carlo DeMaria on the current use of the Lynde Park property. Suffolk Construction is currently leasing the property from the City and Councilor McLaughlin inquired why the City would begin leasing this property before this transfer took place.
The Mayor responded, “We knew you had more foresight and realized this is a great idea and you would all be in agreement with it,” hence the motion to move forward on the project.
While Councilor McLaughlin, who represents the area, expressed he is not disagreeing with the plan itself, he said he was concerns over the process.
“I was just caught off guard when I drove by to see that it was already hot topped and being used as a parking facility for somebody at this point,” he said. “I thought passing this, and then going ahead and allowing that to happen, should have been protocol.”
The Mayor explained “Unfortunately the park was in terrible condition, and nobody actually wanted to go there anymore to use it. The amount of dust and dirt that was all over the fields from the surrounding businesses made it a bad place for a park.”
He further added that the intention of transforming this area was transparent.
“I talked to a good amount of you about entering into a lease with this park,” he said. “I think a few of you that served on the Everett United group knew about it from the beginning. We talked about it. It wasn’t something that we hid from the public, but if you feel that you weren’t in the know, I’ll make sure that going forward you have more information.”
Councilor Fred Capone stated he agreed with Councilor McLaughlin’s sentiments, but wanted to see the issue move forward. By law, the parkland taken has to be replaced equally in another place, hence the plan for the GE site – which Wynn will clean up, design and fund a portion thereof.
“What do we have for a time frame to get the park up and running elsewhere?” Capone inquired.
Mayor DeMaria shared the project is already undergoing early design stages, which he reiterated is being paid for by Wynn.
“The plan is to have it go through design within the next few months, and production would begin as soon as the spring,” he said.
Council President John Hanlon made a motion for favorable action.
The Council unanimously voted in approval of the plan.