(Patrick D. Rosso/Boston.com/2012)
Once the part of town that even locals avoided, the Fort Point Channel has seen a transformation over the past ten-years into one of the city’s premier waterways and hottest neighborhoods.
Members of the Friends of the Fort Point Channel along with residents and elected officials celebrated that transformation Thursday night as they officially opened for the season the five boating docks located in the channel.
“This channel has a tremendous amount of history,” said James Rooney, president of the Friend’s Board and executive director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority. “People had the vision that this could be more than a dirty body of water and we are really starting to see that emerge.”
The docks, which are located at the Boston Children’s Museum, Atlantic Wharf, the Barking Crab, the InterContinental Boston, and P&G/Gillette, give boaters and tourists a chance to get an up close and personal look at a waterway that once was full of filth.
“I grew up in this town so I know what the channel use to look like,” said Senator Jack Hart. “You didn’t even want to drive by the channel because of the look of the channel but also because of the odor of the channel. When I went over to the edge a minute ago I looked down and you could actually see into the water.”
While many in attendance were thankful for the hard work of the Friends of the Fort Point Channel many also highlighted the importance of the Fort Point Watersheet Activation Plan which laid out a plan for a cleaner harbor and channel. The plan developed in 2002 looked to activate the channel for both boaters and pedestrians and make it an easily accessible resource for those in South Boston and the city as a whole.
For a copy of the plan, click here.
“For some of us who grew up here it was pretty awful, I couldn’t imagine anyone enjoying it,” said Beverly Wing, a member of the Friend’s Board. “Now after the plan and activation of the neighborhood more people are able to enjoy it, more companies are coming into the neighborhood, and you can feel a real sense of excitement.”
Shawn Ford, a member of the Friend’s Board and Executive Director for the Tea Party Museum located on the Fort Point Channel, said watching the neighborhood transform has been amazing.
“When the Tea Party Museum opened in 1973 this was now man’s land,” said Ford. “Even 12 years ago when the site was destroyed by a fire the neighborhood was still not a destination and now there is a renaissance going on down here.”
To welcome the new docks politicians, including Mayor Thomas M. Menino, and members of the Friend’s Board blew boat horns to let everyone in Boston know that the Fort Point Channel is open, clean, and ready for some visitors.
“It has been a dream for so long to turn that Watersheet into something and I think tonight is the night to do that,” said Menino. “These docks will ensure more Bostonians and visitors have access to our waterfront and harbor.”
For more information about the channel and activities, click here.