Local and state officials gathered at the Town Brook construction site Monday to recognize the official beginning of the brook relocation project.
A massive environmental and logistical undertaking, the construction, in which a 1,700 section of the brook at the center of Quincy’s downtown is relocated as a 1,200-foot section running along the concourse, marks the beginning of Quincy's $1.6 billion downtown redevelopment.
Standing at the intersection of Hancock and Mechanic streets, Jay Gonzalez, secretary of the state Office of Administration and Finance, met with State Senator John Keenan, Beal/Street-Works staffers, Mayor Thomas Koch, and Quincy city councilors to see the work and speak about the project.
“I am excited to see it moving forward," Gonzalez said in a release. "This project will put people to work and deliver a host of economic, housing and community benefits to the region."
In addition to the brook's relocation, the city will have to design and build the Adams Green and construct a Burgin Parkway Access bridge before private development to move forward as planned.
Although the city has applied for a $40 million grant from the state for all three projects, most of the funding for the brook came from MassWorks.
In 2011, the city was awarded a $10.1 million MassWorks Infrastructure Grant, which was the largest of 42 different projects across the state to receive such funding.
“By working with the City of Quincy through the MassWorks Infrastructure Program, we are paving the way for future opportunities,” said Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray in a release.
The overvall downtown redevelopment project is expected to create over 11,000 jobs in the Commonwealth and generate millions of dollars in sales and property tax revenues for the state and the city.
“We have waited decades to revive Quincy Center, and today is an incredible and important first step towards that goal," agreed State Representative Tackey Chan, a Quincy Democrat, in a release.
Although construction on the brook started a few weeks ago, city representatives said the state wanted to make a point of coming down and checking on the progress.
For locals, however, the gathering was to memorialize Jon Stephenson, the lead engineer to the project who passed away from colon cancer two weeks ago.
Stephenson, part of Stephenson Design Group of Boston, was 40 years old. He leaves behind a wife and two young children.
“The mayor and the secretary invited the family to the groundbreaking and presented the Stephenson family with a commemorative shovel to mark Jon’s work,” said mayoral spokesperson Christopher Walker. “It was his work in the last three years that put us in position to be able to construct this project, and the mayor and Secretary Gonzalez wanted to make sure his work was recognized. As his kids get older, hopefully, they will know he was a part of something very important.”
The project has received all necessary permits, Walker said, except for a water quality certification, “but that’s in process and we don’t expect that to be a major hurdle.”
Elsewhere the project is moving along as scheduled. Demolition of the American Legion Post will take place within the next few months, and if everything goes as scheduled, the project should be finished by 2013.
Even with a recently filed lawsuit by the Quincy Environmental Network through Norfolk Superior Court, Walker said the city isn’t concerned that things would be derailed at this stage. The suit is seeking further review of Town Brook project, specifically regarding flood analysis.
“This has been upheld every step of the way,'' Walker said. "The city has made tremendous efforts to mitigate any concerns that have come up, and again and again, regulators have determined that this will be a tenfold improvement over the current conditions."