Bridging the Gap:Encore Files to Build Connector Path to HarborWalk, Northern Strand

Encore Boston Harbor has filed with state environmental regulators to begin work on a connector path along the Mystic River – that coming one week after they received an Order of Conditions from the Everett Conservation Commission.

The move is the latest effort to connect the walking and biking paths along the Mystic and Malden Rivers, and is a key connector that will unite trails at the Gateway Mall and bring them onto the Encore property.

“The project will create high-quality public open space in an area currently inaccessible to the public along the Mystic River waterfront with the construction of an approximately 1,876-foot multi-use path,” read the filing by Encore.

The path in question will be done in two phases, with Phase 1 being proposed at the moment. That part of the project will connect the existing Encore HarborWalk to the proposed terminus of the Northern Strand Community Trail. That Trail is supposed to be constructed by DDRC, the owners of the Gateway Mall. That commitment, which is being disputed at the state level, would connect the end of the existing path in the Village to the proposed Encore path as part of Phase 1.

The first phase would also be a landmark piece of trail in that it would connect to any potential pedestrian bridge over the Mystic River – a bridge that has been designed and would cost more than $20 million to construct.

Funding for that bridge is still in question, though many reports are that things might be coming together on that piece of the puzzle too.

“Phase One will also potentially connect to the proposed Mystic River Pedestrian Bridge that would span the Mystic River, providing a pedestrian-friendly connection from Everett to Somerville,” read the Encore filing.

Phase One has been submitted to the state and is now in a comment period through June 22.

The path would be anywhere from 10 to 12 feet wide and would include a little over three acres of landscaped areas, essentially connecting two very important trails.

The pathway also including retaining walls, pedestrian lighting, benches, fencing and plantings.

Phase Two would come at a later date and would run along the water on the DDRC and Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) property. That pathway is about 1,000 feet and connects Phase One to the Gateway Park and, thus, Revere Beach Parkway.

A final piece of that project includes about one acre of open space on the west side of the Encore building that would be used as an Area of Refuge. The grass surface lot would act as a place for people to assemble if evacuated from the property.

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