Friday, June 14, 2019

Following $4.7 million in improvements, Mayor Walsh reopens Noyes Park

BOSTON - Friday, June 14, 2019 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Boston Parks and Recreation Department this week celebrated more than $4.7 million in improvements to Noyes Park in East Boston during a Neighborhood Coffee Hour held on Wednesday, June 12. 

“Noyes Park has undergone major reconstruction and we are proud to share the results of the hard work that went into this project with the East Boston community,” said Mayor Walsh.  “The new and improved Noyes Park will be a place that children and families will enjoy for many years to come, and I want to thank everyone involved for bringing this great new park to life.”

Funded with a $4.7 million investment from Mayor Walsh’s Capital Plan, including a $400,000 Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) grant and a $100,000 grant from Youth Lead the Change, site improvements include new LED sports lighting, a synthetic soccer/softball field, a fenced and irrigated baseball field with batting/pitching cage and covered player’s benches, a fenced and irrigated Little League field with scoreboard and covered player’s benches, a playground for ages 5 to 12 and 2 to 5 with rubber safety surfacing, a rope climber and dish swing, 2 to 5 play structure and tot swings, splash pad, two basketball courts, a walking loop and exercise station, new trees, and rain gardens.

Noyes Playground is one of the largest playgrounds in East Boston at 8.22 acres. The park has traditionally served baseball, softball, Little League, soccer, and as a playground.  The comprehensive renovation approach allowed the Parks Department design team to look at ways to separate uses while diversifying and providing additional uses within the park. This project was done in coordination with a tidal gate being installed by the Boston Water and Sewer Commission at Constitution Beach to stop tidal flooding from entering the site along Saratoga Street.

The Neighborhood Coffee Hours give residents a unique opportunity to speak directly with Mayor Walsh and staff from City departments about open space and other needs in their neighborhoods.  Through these discussions and a suggestion box at each site, Mayor Walsh looks forward to hearing how the City of Boston can improve upon local parks, public areas, and city services.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Steppingstone Foundation receives grant from Cummings Foundation; 169 East Boston among many students served

Steppingstone awarded $100,000: Boston Nonprofit receives Cummings Foundation Grant

BOSTON, MA — The Steppingstone Foundation is one of 100 local nonprofits to receive grants of $100,000 through Cummings Foundation “$100k for 100” program. The Boston-based organization was chosen from nearly 600 applicants during a competitive review process.

Founded in 1990, The Steppingstone Foundation is a non-profit organization that develops and implements programs that prepare under-served students for educational opportunities that lead to college success. Each year, Steppingstone provides 12+ years of academic and social-emotional support to nearly 1,600 Boston students from traditionally marginalized communities to help them get into and through college. Steppingstone is also a partner of Boston Public Schools. The program currently serves 169 students from East Boston.

“We are thrilled to be the recipient of a Cummings Foundation $100K for 100 grant and grateful for the consistent support it will provide us over the next several years,”  said Steppingstone President Kelly Glew. The $100K for 100 grant will benefit Steppingstone’s College Services program, which works to help Steppingstone Scholars successfully enroll in college, persist, and graduate by providing support during the college application and enrollment process, financial aid counseling, and one-on-one advising during the college years. 

The $100K for 100 program supports nonprofits based in and serving Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties, all areas where Cummings Foundation owns commercial buildings. “By having such a local focus, we aim to make a meaningful positive difference in the communities where our colleagues and leasing clients live and work,” said Joel Swets, Cummings Foundation’s executive director. “We are most grateful for the nonprofit organizations that assist and empower our neighbors, and we are proud to support their efforts.” 

This year’s grant recipients represent a wide variety of initiatives, including homelessness prevention, affordable housing, educational equity, violence prevention, and food insecurity. Most of the grants will be paid over two to five years. Steppingstone’s President Kelly Glew and Chief Advancement Officer Kate Wood recently joined approximately 300 other guests at TradeCenter 128 in Woburn to celebrate the $10 million inflow into Greater Boston’s nonprofit sector.

The complete list of 100 grant winners is available at

June 12: Mayor Walsh's Coffee Hour in East Boston and the Re-opening of Noyes Park

Monday, June 3, 2019

Mayor Walsh column: Investing in our next generation

by Mayor Martin J. Walsh

In 2015, we launched BuildBPS, a 10-year educational and facilities master plan that reflects a $1 billion commitment to our students. This plan is a promise to our young people that their schools will be equipped with the facilities, tools, and curriculum they need to succeed in today’s world. We have said many times that making sure our students have the best learning facilities available to them is a priority, and today we’re taking the next step to fulfill that promise: a planning and engagement process for school expansions and re-configurations. 

The majority of Boston's public schools were constructed before World War II, and many lack modern educational spaces like music and technology classrooms. There are also several different grade configurations, meaning that many students change schools several times before graduating from high school. We want to simplify things for families by offering single-transition pathways. Families have also told us that they want to see more K-6 schools in their neighborhoods, and this next step in the plan provides an opportunity to meet that need as well. 

The Boston Public Schools (BPS) recently announced updates to the BuildBPS plan. These include: modernizing school facilities; adopting two preferred grade configuration models of K-6/7-12 and K-8/9-12; increasing access to classroom seats in neighborhoods with the most need; addressing declining enrollment and sustainability in the few remaining middle schools serving grades 6-8; and facilitating greater equity of program placement to meet the needs of students with disabilities, English learners, and more.

Ensuring smooth transitions for students and families is a top priority and critical to expanding high-quality school options in all neighborhoods across our city. After years of analyzing school enrollment patterns and facility layouts and capacity, we are now asking for the community to get involved in the process by providing feedback to the following updates: 

A new 7-12 school at the site of the current McCormack Middle School on Columbia Point in Dorchester, which will combine programming with the Boston Community Leadership Academy (BCLA) in Hyde Park. This new, fully-renovated school will open in the fall of 2022 and will keep specialized programs from both schools, including those for English learners and students with disabilities. 

Expanding 17 elementary schools from grades K-5 to K-6, which includes five schools in South Boston and Dorchester in September 2020 (Dever, Perkins, Tynan, Everett, Clap); six schools citywide in September 2020; and six East Boston schools in September 2021.

Expanding middle-grade seat capacity in East Boston through possible expansion at East Boston High School while maintaining options at the Umana and McKay K-8 schools.

Purchasing property at 189 Paris Street in East Boston to construct a new school building to serve elementary grades, and at 249 Harrison Avenue in Chinatown for a new Josiah Quincy Upper School. 

Continuing to seek property near the Dorchester-Mattapan line to construct a new school building to address the need for elementary seats in the area.

Beginning a planning and engagement process leading to the reconfiguration of the Edwards Middle School in Charlestown, phasing out the grade 6-8 middle school in June 2021, and reconfiguring the school to expand pre-K and elementary grade capacity.

Continuing a planning and engagement process for schools in Allston-Brighton to address facilities challenges at the Jackson/Mann and Horace Mann schools.

Continue working with Grove Hall Alliance school communities (Burke High, Frederick Middle, Trotter K-8, King K-8, and Haynes Early Education Center) to review feeder patterns for the potential creation of a pathway for students.

All of these proposals advance the values of BuildBPS by ensuring that every student has access to a high-quality, 21st-century public education. Throughout this process, we’ll rely on the input of residents and BPS families. BPS will keep providing updates at with more details on how the plan will affect them. I look forward to working with the community on these exciting changes.