The highly anticipated, $21,000 Braintree’s Monatiquot Riverwalk is one approval away from becoming a reality.
Braintree officials have been working since late 2011 to organize a picturesque walkway alongside the Monatiquot River, which would meander through Watson Park.
The dream has been touted throughout the community, who sent in dozens of letters of support to the National Park Service, helping the town win a grant to kick-start the planning.
“[National Park Service] came down and helped find the location for it, and worked on the actual specifications,” said Director of Planning and Community Development Christine Stickney.
Since then, the plan has blossomed. Design sketches show for the six- to eight-foot-wide Riverwalk to start on Gordon Road, run past a newly created wildflower meadow before the shoreline, and track upward across the river.
The 1700-foot-long walkway, made of stone dust and dotted with benches and interpretive signage, would then go past a planned Splash Pad, up around one of the baseball fields, and connect with an existing 500-foot-long Frank Toland path, which cuts through the middle of the entire property and connects back to the other side of the riverwalk trail.
“Overall it will become a half a mile [long],” said Kelly Phelan, the conservation planner for the town.
The $21,000 project will be funded entirely by the Community Preservation Committee.
Though the project has already received approvals from the preservation committee, the Conservation Commission, and the town’s Ways and Means Committee, the project will need the final thumbs up from the full Town Council, which will meet on Feb. 26 to discuss it.
“Our hope is that when the council approves this, then we can get going when the weather breaks,” Stickney said.
The $21,000 would not only include all the plantings and the trail itself, but also erosion improvement on the shoreline.
All this to occur alongside the construction of a Splash Pad – a type of water park for kids made of fountains and geysers. Later in the summer, the area will be transformed.
Though there has been some skepticism about the Splash Pad, Braintree residents are still fully supportive of the riverwalk plans.
According to Stickney, at meetings about the project, residents have spoke highly of the plans. Dave Oliva from the East Braintree Civic Association and Councilor Leland Dingee were also highly supportive.
“I didn’t hear anyone at any meetings speak against it,” Stickney said.