There have been about 10 million conversations at the City Council about the failing – and critical – Island End culvert, and about 10 million reasons (in dollars) to avoid talking too seriously about fixing the culvert – until now.
City Engineer Greg St. Louis and Mayor Carlo DeMaria reported to the Council on Monday night that the state Department of Environment Protection (DEP) had recently deemed that the City of Everett was not responsible for repairs to the culvert. That makes it the responsibility, primarily, of the owners above the collapse, which is the sprawling – and apparently ‘for sale’ – Boston Market Terminal on Second Street.
And the City is considering its options – including litigation – to try to make sure the responsible parties pay for the problem.
“We did receive notice from Mass DEP that the City is not responsible for replacement of the culvert,” said St. Louis, who noted that with every rain event, the culvert becomes more compromised. The culvert is a major piece of infrastructure for helping to drain the Parkway area during heavy rain events. Because of its compromised structure, many times areas are now inundated with water that can’t escape during heavy rain.
Mayor Carlo DeMaria said they have been working with Boston Market Terminal, but the company has been slow to move. He also said they seem to be marketing the property to sell to a residential developer. The City is concerned the property could be sold without accounting for the $10 million or more price tag to fix the culvert, which is now the property owner’s responsibility.
“Every Island End business knows the culvert is collapsing but no one wants to talk about it,” said the mayor. “No one wants to take ownership of it but we have been found not responsible for it. Boston Market Terminal is talking with us, their consultants and attorneys…It all points back to Boston Market Terminal is responsible for the culvert. It will probably mean we have to start litigation with them. That’s probably why they are heavily marketing the site…We have thought about taking them to court.”
Councilors Leo McKinnon and Fred Capone brought the matter to the Council on Monday night, and they have been on top of the issue for several years. The culvert affects both of their wards significantly when it comes to flooding and drainage. Particularly, Spring Street and the Stadium are magnets for flooding, which it is believed is caused by the collapse of the culvert.
Councilor Michael McLaughlin indicated that maybe the City could place a lien on the property that would allow for the collection of a proper amount to fix the culvert at the recording of any future sale.