–By John Lynds
Mayor Thomas Menino held an informal press conference last Friday at City Hall with editors of the East Boston Times and other local community newspapers to discuss his proposed Fiscal Year 2012 recommended budget and five year capital plan.
The meeting gave Menino the opportunity to highlight spending in Eastie and other Boston neighborhoods.
“Residents look to their community newspapers to see what we are doing and how money is being spent in their neighborhoods,” said Menino. “Neighborhoods are the backbone of this city and through this budget and capital plan we are investing in new libraries, parks and improving existing facilities that families and residents can enjoy.”
In Eastie, the city plans to spend millions of dollars over the next five years for a new library, finishing the East Boston Stadium, repairs on District 7 Police Station, LoPresti and Sumner/Lamson Parks, and a major renovation at the Mario Umana Middle School Academy.
At the Umana $1 million will already be spent to construct additional classrooms to get the school ready for a merger with the Dante Alighieri School that will make the Umana a K-8 program. Menino said this will be the beginning of a redesign and reinvestment plan over the next five years that will transform the aging 1970s style architecture into an attractive center for education.
At the East Boston Stadium the city will invest money to finish the section of the stadium under the bleachers. This will include the construction of locker rooms and space where they will house a future concessions stand.
By far the biggest investment the city will make over the next five years in Eastie is the construction of a new, state-of-the-art library on the Bremen Street Park.
The new library is slated to be constructed on the Bremen Street Park on a piece of land formerly owned by NStar. The 14,600 square foot, $11.3 million library will be designed by the same team responsible for the new Mattapan branch finished last year.
There, architects from William Rawn Associates created an up-too-date library facilities, an open reading room, and an outdoor courtyard configuration. The sustainable building merges indoor and outdoor spaces and had redefined the experience of the library there.
In Eastie, William L. Rawn III, founder of the firm, said the location and design of the new library will aim to link the building to the rest of the community.
Construction will begin in spring of 2012 and end in the summer of 2013 with the branch opening in late summer or early fall of 2013.
Other highlights of Menino’s capital plan in Eastie included repairs to the Paris Street Pool, schoolyard repairs at the East Boston Early Learning Center, a new roof at the Curtis Guild School, renovations to the American Legion Playground and Field House, schoolyard repairs and fire system upgrades at the Hugh Roe O’Donnell School, and new windows at the Donald McKay School.