Flooding Issues Must Be Solved with Regional Efforts

Flooding Issues Must Be Solved with Regional Efforts

Two of the highest tides ever recorded on Boston Harbor have happened in the last three  months, with one of those being last Friday, March 2, around 11:15 a.m.

Last Friday’s storm caused some severe flooding in Chelsea, particularly on Marginal Street where the Chelsea Creek breached its banks. However, the storm also packed a punch with heavy winds, which blew Chelsea’s official Christmas tree Down.

Last Friday’s storm caused some severe flooding in Chelsea, particularly
on Marginal Street where the Chelsea Creek breached its banks. However, the storm also packed a punch with heavy winds, which blew Chelsea’s official Christmas tree Down.

And on Friday, and on Jan. 4 before that, the tides and coastal storm surge combined to inundate areas of Chelsea that normally stay dry – particularly on Marginal Street and its tributaries up the hill.

This past Friday, City Manager Tom Ambrosino said floodwaters breached the banks of the Chelsea Creek once again – just as they did during the blizzard and coastal surge on Jan. 4.

He said there isn’t much the City can do short-term to alleviate that kind of powerful force.

“There just wasn’t a whole lot we could do about that situation when the Creek comes over its banks, onto the roadway and floods the entire road,” he said. “We may have to be thinking about – like other cities and towns – very long, long-term solutions because I think these types of storms are going to continue more and more. I think like everyone else we’re going to have to start thinking about Coastal Climate Resiliency. I don’t know what that would mean for Marginal Street, but it would have to mean something because we can’t keep having this kind of flooding.”

Ambrosino said the tidal action on Marginal Street is also what caused the closure of several streets on the hill, including Congress, Willow, Highland and others. Fixing that would mean years of planning and millions and millions of dollars, but perhaps that is something, he said, that needs to happen.

Beyond that, flooding issues on Eastern Avenue on Friday near the Burke School Complex may have a solution. He said there is some infrastructure work they intend to do in the coming years that should make a difference in that flooding situation.

On Friday, high tides inundated the area near the Burke and caused some disruptions in school activities.

The same is true for flooding on the Island End River, which exceeded its banks on Friday too. That type of flooding issue threatens the food supply at the New England Produce Center, but like Eastern Avenue, Ambrosino said there are solutions that have been planned.

“There are long-term solutions there, but they are expensive,” he said. “However, there are ideas that can make a difference with that situation.”

Beyond the flooding, the storm packed a punch with wind gusts that often went above 80 mph. That wreaked havoc with many trees in the city, and particularly with the City’s official Christmas tree in Chelsea Square.

That tree was knocked down in the winds, and had to be removed from its long-time home.

“The Christmas tree did get  knocked over,” said Ambrosino. “As I understand, it was transplanted some years ago and didn’t have very deep roots. The Tree Board will look at that and try to figure out what we’ll do about a new Christmas tree. Luckily, we have plenty of time to think about it.”

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Ribbon Cutting

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Roseann Bongiovanni and long time environmental justice member, David Prusky, cut the green ribbon on the new Chelsea GreenRoots headquarters on Marginal Street during a ceremony last Friday, Sept. 9. GreenRoots, formerly
Chelsea GreenSpace, formally spun off of the Chelsea Collaborative earlier in the summer and will focus more intensely on issues regarding the environment.

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Eastern Salt’s Public Waterfront Park

Eastern Salt’s Public Waterfront Park

C1Eastern Salt employee Paul Carlson gives an impromptu tour to John Schwagerl of the sprawling, green amphitheatre at
the new industrial-themed park on Marginal Street – which should be officially opened later in the year. The park incorporates
many marine themed items, including a wheelhouse from an old boat and old marine docking elements. They even
used the granite discarded from the old Chelsea Street Bridge, and the ‘spines’ of the old oil tanks that used to dot the site
(as seen above). The design of the new park has already won a national landscape design award.

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Marginal Street Corridor Could Be Next Hot Area for Chelsea

Marginal Street Corridor Could Be Next Hot Area for Chelsea

The turnaround story of Everett Avenue has been well documented both inside and outside of Chelsea.

Now, with that area growing unabated, City Manager Jay Ash said this week that planners would begin to focus on the Marginal Street corridor as the City’s next big boomtown.

In the next few weeks, the City plans to release a request for proposals (RFP) that calls for a study of the Marginal Street corridor – which runs right along the Chelsea Creek. That study comes on the tail end of a group of investors filing an application with the City to develop a hotel on vacant land at the head of Marginal Street, across from the new Chelsea Street Bridge.

“We met with stakeholders about 18 months ago, and decided that we needed to bring on a consultant to help us think about the future of the waterfront,” said Ash. “Certainly the news that a hotel is eager to be an anchor on Central and Eastern Avenues is great news and tells us that our hopes for a higher end waterfront is possible. The new park that Eastern Minerals is creating and the pier that Harold Kalick has restored are great infrastructure additions, as is the Chelsea Street Bridge.”

Ash noted there are some positive steps already taken on the thoroughfare, but true success such as has borne out on Everett Avenue may be some years away.

“We may be five or even 10 years away from the start of a true transformation there, but it has worked on Everett Avenue and we are equally as confident that something special can happen on the waterfront some day,” he said.

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