Climate Ready Boston ready for Phase 2 in Charlestown

The Climate Ready Boston initiative is preparing to take its Phase 2 process to the public next month with an online open house on Aug. 3 at 6 p.m. to discuss the preliminary recommendations for Phase 2 planning – a phase in Charlestown that focuses on future flooding events and sea level rise in the Navy Yard and around Little Mystic Channel/AutoPort.

Phase 2 is looking at a variety of issues to address the areas further east than what was addressed at The Neck and Schrafft’s Center back in 2017 – a first-step project that resulted in a major plan to raise the Main Street/Bunker Hill Street intersection three feet and build other remediations within the Rutherford/Sullivan Re-Design project.

“This is the second phase of Climate Ready Charlestown and East Boston,” said Project Manager Cat McCandless, City of Boston’s Climate Change and Environmental Planning Project Manager. “The first phase concluded in 2017 and looked at the Harbor facing areas in East Boston and in Charlestown at a part of the Mystic River (at The Neck). In the second phase we’re looking at three different areas in East Boston and in Charlestown we’re looking at the Navy Yard and the Little Mystic Channel.”

The second phase of the project – which looks at the effect of storm surge accompanied by sea level rise as far out as 2070 and recommends strategies to lessen the impacts – kicked off last fall and established a Community Advisory Board (CAB) made up of 10 Charlestown residents and 13 Eastie residents. With the CAB they have developed some ideas, and plan to bring those to the community on Aug. 3, along with getting input about where residents would like to see flood mitigation strategies put in place – as well as what those might look like.

“So far the collaboration between the CAB and the different stakeholders has been really strong,” said McCandless. “We’ve convened our Steering Committee two times and they’ve also had individual opportunities to weight in. We want to know the future plans for the stakeholders and merge them with what we’re working on…It’s been a lot of conversation so far. We’ve talked with neighboring municipalities, and public and private landowners to make sure everyone with a stake in this has a voice at the table – to know what they want and maybe don’t want.”

The Open House will feature a video production showing modelling of sea level rise predictions, and what those predictions would mean when there are typical Nor’easters, 100-year storms and 1,000 year storms. At the peak of the modelling in 2070, such large flooding could impact about 4,500 resident and would potentially inundate the Navy Yard, and create a flood corridor in the Bunker Hill Housing development and NewTowne Apartments – as well as circling around to Thompson Square via Rutherford Avenue.

Getting resident input is key because they said while they have identified the many existing and future flood gateway points in the Little Mystic and the Navy Yard, they’d like to know what kind of mitigation measures would seem best for those living there.

That could come in the form of a seawall, quite simply, or an improved HarborWalk that also handles flood storage, or even a resilient park like the new Puopolo Park in the North End.

“We’re definitely looking at opportunities to increase the amount of open space and viable open space there,” said McCandless.

She also stressed that while such potential changes to the climate are quite scary in the modelling, the City sees this as a great opportunity to help future generations and create amenities for today.

“Climate change is clearly a huge threat to this neighborhood, but we see it also as a way to create amenities and add accessibility to the waterfront,” she said.

The meeting will feature language access options, with interpretation in Spanish and Cantonese.

The meeting will be online Tuesday, August 3, from 6:-7:30 p.m. Please register in advance at the Climate Ready Boston website.

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