(Image courtesy DCR)
A dilapidated structured adjacent to the Mattapan Square MBTA Station will soon be renovated, according to the Department of Conservation and Recreation, which owns the property.
Acquired by the agency for $400,000 in November of 2010, the structure will eventually be the neighborhood’s gateway to the Neponset River Greenway, which stretches along the Neponset River from Dorchester to Hyde Park, but has yet to be completed in Mattapan.
Currently DCR is planning to demolish portions of the structure, which is located on the Mattapan/Milton line of RT. 28, to create an “interim plaza” at the site, according to SJ Port, a spokesperson for DCR.
"The building will be a great nexus for greenway users to pass by and could in the future be used by DCR or permitted out to a business that would add to the enjoyment of users - in the future when the trail is completed,” said Port.
DCR expects to have the project out to bid soon with work estimated to start on the site sometime between March and April. Depending on the weather work is expected to be completed by Jun. 30.
Port said once a contractor has been chosen for the project a meeting with the community will be held.
Although the work doesn’t include any additions to the structure, some in the community said any work on the structure is a step in the right direction for the neighborhood and the Neponset River Greenway.
“That trail house is part of the entrance to the city of Boston and right now it’s an eyesore,” said Vivian Morris, director of the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition. “We’re excited to have a visible and concrete representation of the trail in the square and it will be a major piece in improving the square.”
Morris also highlighted the importance of the trail house to her group’s work to get residents moving and healthy.
“It’s extremely important for residents to go directly to that trail at a site in our community,” said Morris. “It will invite them to enjoy the trail and the river.”
Nancy Rachel Rousseau, president of the Mattapan Square Main Streets board, sees the work as part of the continued positive development in the neighborhood, which recently welcomed the new Mattapan Square Health Center.
“Any work including work the DCR is doing is going to fuel momentum in the square,” said “It’s going to encourage people to get more involved.”
Currently the Neponset River Greenway does not connect directly to Mattapan and several attempts to secure funds to create the connections and add the Mattapan portion of the trail have failed.
If funds are secured and the trail is completed it would run into the square and connect with the trail house.
“It’s going to be the strongest announcement that there is a Neponset River Greenway,” said Valerie Burns, executive director of the Boston Natural Areas Network.
Although concrete proposals have not been presented for the site past discussions during the planning process for the missing sections of the Neponset Greenway have included a visitor center with retail options as well.
“The building has been envisioned as a trail head and visitor center for the whole system,” said Burns. “But there really hasn’t yet been an opportunity for Mattapan to really sit down and discuss what should happen in the building. Mattapan residents need to talk about what’s needed in the square and what makes sense.”
(Image courtesy city of Boston Assessing Department)