Walkers and bicyclists will have more access to Medford’s riverfront now that the third of four phases of the Wellington Greenway has been completed.
The project is separate from River’s Edge, a joint effort of Everett, Malden, and Medford to revitalize 200 acres on the Malden River. But the path terminates near River’s Edge and the work is being carried out and partially funded by Preotle, Lane & Associates, the developer of River’s Edge.
“It looks great,” Medford Mayor Michael J. McGlynn said this week, noting that he had visited the open portions of the greenway last weekend. “It’s impressive for any of us who knew what it used to be, the debris that was cleaned up, the pathways that were built.”
“The beauty of it is that it’s so aesthetically pleasing,” he said, noting that the greenway provides vistas of Boston, Somerville, and the Amelia Earhart Dam.
McGlynn said the greenway also adds a key piece to the growing network of recreational trails that Medford wants to develop throughout the community, from one end to the other.
“It’s part of the grand picture, which is connectivity,” he said.
When completed, the greenway will connect to an existing riverfront path at Wellington Business Park. That path connects to River’s Edge and the riverfront path that Preotle, Lane & Associates built as part of a 10-acre park that opened in 2008.
The western end of the greenway connects to an existing waterfront path that was improved as part of the new Station Landing development, which is just across Route 28 from the Mystic River Reservation.
The greenway includes an improved, existing .35-mile-long trail managed by the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, and what will be a nearly mile-long section of new trail. The trail will be part of the DCR’s path system.
The project includes an overlook atop a historic railroad abutment at the tip of an elevated peninsula at the confluence of the Malden and Mystic rivers. The abutment is part of the old railroad bridge that was used before the current bridge connecting Medford and Somerville was built.
Because the MBTA owns the land on which the new trail section is being built, the DCR is finalizing a license agreement with the transit agency to use the property, according to Elizabeth Debski, project director for River’s Edge for the Malden Redevelopment Authority.
The project’s first three phases were partly funded with a $150,000 grant from the Massachusetts Environmental Trust that was secured by the Mystic Valley Development Commission, which oversees River’s Edge. Preotle, Lane & Associates is covering the remaining cost, estimated at $200,000.
John Preotle said his company agreed to help fund the greenway project in part as a good deed but also because it is good for all the properties in that area, including River’s Edge.
“The greenway will really add something, maybe not this year, but maybe five years out, to River’s Edge,” Preotle said, noting that it will tie the park to a continuous trail system stretching to Route 28 and beyond.
The first phase, completed in late 2010, involved reconstructing the existing DCR path, which extends from Wellington Yacht Club to the overlook site. Contractors also removed vegetation and added new benches and other park furniture.
The next two phases began this spring and were completed last month. Phase 2 involved construction of the overlook, which includes a landscaped, circular granite seating area that offers a panoramic view of surrounding waters.
The third phase extended the path about two-tenths of a mile along the Malden River to Wellington Station. Contractors also planted grass and installed granite seating, security cameras, and trash receptacles on that new trail section.
The planned fourth phase would continue the path along the Malden River from Wellington Station across Route 16 to Wellington Business Park.
The portion of the trail that crosses Route 16 will be constructed by the state Department of Transportation as part of its planned reconstruction of the Woods Memorial Bridge linking Medford and Everett, set for completion in 2016. That section will be built underneath the new bridge.
River’s Edge, meanwhile, continues to progress. In Medford, a four-story office building and a 222-unit apartment building have been constructed, in addition to the waterfront park, which includes a Tufts University boathouse.
Preotle said the office building is about 65 percent leased and the apartment building fully occupied. His company is considering construction of a second apartment building, which also would require a parking garage.
On the Everett side of the river, another developer is pursuing plans to create a business park on 22 acres of a 40-acre property formerly owned by General Electric.