On January 30, 2020, the Friends of the Malden River hosted the 2nd Malden River Works For Waterfront Equity and Resilience Meeting.
The event began with a brief overview of the project. Project Lead Kathleen Vandiver came up to the podium to explain the current state of the Malden River. Vandiver explained that the Department of Public Works, located on 356 Commercial St., will be the site of the project. Afterward, Vandiver explained the schedule for future meetings.
Following Vandiver, local poet Terry Carter came up to perform his poem, “Malden Walk.” The poem tells the story of the Malden River as it changed through time.
After Carter, came Design Lead Marie Law Adams. Adams explained that the team took what was heard on the first meeting that was held on October 21, 2019, and brought out three designs from it. Overall, it was found that the majority of participants had gotten to the Malden River by car or on foot. It was also found that a large majority of the participants would walk along the Malden River with the second-largest majority enjoying nature at the river. In a survey conducted by the design team, it was found that an overwhelming majority of the participants wanted trails and to enjoy nature. In the same survey, it was also found that many of the participants wanted benches, art, trash receptacles and amenities for boating. Based on the first meeting, Adams explained that many attendees had been unaware that Malden had a river and increased points of access to the river became a major design need for the project.
After summarizing the first meeting, Adams projected a map of the Department of Public Works site with several improvements in mind. The first being the elimination of the “Junk Vehicle Storage” and the clean up of the misc storage. The second being the transfer of the salt storage unit to a corner of the site, with the street debris and clean fill moved to where the current Salt Storage unit is located. Following this, there will be mixed parking for the public and trucks in several locations throughout the site. In addition, a parking lot will be created in order to house more parking for the public and the employees, with several changes to the street access, changing the flow of traffic of the site.
With the misc storage being cleaned up and the street repair debris and clean fill being moved, there is room for development in the back of the Public Worksite. The team plans to put a public amenity site in the back that lines the Public works site with a retention area behind it to deal with storm waters that may come due to the effects of global warming. In addition to this, there will now be sidewalks that line the Public Works site to provide public access to the public amenity site. Adams explained that the framework for this site can easily be applied throughout the river with a pathway connecting the sites.
With this framework in mind, three concepts for the public amenities site have been proposed. The first is a flexible concept for the amenities site. The flexible concept has a single large area with paths surrounding it that allow for any activity to be conducted at the site.
The second concept is the river view concept. This concept has several benches facing the river. This is similar to an amphitheater such as the one located in Assembly Row.
The final concept is the Enjoy Nature Concept. This concept has a large boardwalk as it’s defining features that reach out, and over the river. The pathway at the site curves around the new landscape of the river, with the retention area taking up a large portion of the site.
All of these concepts contain a boathouse and a new dock for public use and the Crew Team.
Following this presentation, the attendees of the meeting were left to their own group to look over the three concepts for edits and changes. At the end of the meeting, each group would explain the main consensus that they found with the three provided concepts.
Mayor Gary Christenson explains that before this project, “[they] have been thinking about trying to do something down along with the river for years, but haven’t come up with the right plan.” Christenson continues, explaining that plans such as a hotel down the river, or moving the Public Works Department to another site, but “we think that the one that Malden River works have come up with makes a lot of sense, both a financial point of view and an environmental point of view.”
Overall, Vandiver “was pleased to see the overall number of people who came” and mentions that “it was great [to] see that [they] are attracting new people to come out to a public meeting.” The next meeting will be held in April 2020.