New Sidewalks for Trapelo Road
To improve the safety of pedestrian access along Trapelo Road I successfully advocated for $2.5 million funding to install one mile of new concrete sidewalks on Trapelo Road from Smith Street to Lexington Street, where none previously existed.
New concrete sidewalks were also installed on the north side of Trapelo Road. The solar powered pedestrian traffic signal at Pine Vale was moved to the center of Graverson Playground. Trapelo Road will be resurfaced and re-striped in 2020.
Open Space Acquisitions
I have been the primary sponsor of the following open space acquisitions in North Waltham during my tenure on the City Council. The total acreage of these 8 parcels is approximately 274 acres.
MetFern Cemetery Restoration
In the summer of 2019 the Waltham Community Preservation Committee (CPC) and City Council approved my MetFern Cemetery CPC application and associated $80k funding request to restore the cemetery monuments and erect signage listing the names of all individuals interred at the MetFern cemetery.
The MetFern cemetery is located on the grounds of the former Metropolitan State Hospital on Trapelo Road behind Mackerel Hill. Approximately 300 individuals, former residents of both the Fernald and MetState institutions, are interred there. Existing monuments are etched with a code, comprised of a letter (“C” for Catholic or “P” for Protestant) followed by a number. See photo above. The interred souls are thus currently nameless.
This project will finally add some level of dignity to those individuals who faced great difficulties during their lives.
In 2017 I submitted a City Council resolution to investigate bringing back skiing and other sports at Prospect Hill. Prospect Hill is the 2nd highest peak in eastern Massachusetts (485 ft or 148 m) and has a 350’ vertical drop and a 6,700’ trail length. Two things have occurred since its closure back in 1990:
Snow making technology has advanced greatly.
In 1997 the Air Force vacated the summit allowing the use of the entire hill (to Big Prospect).
Fun fact - the vertical drop of Prospect Hill is greater than that at the Blue Hills Ski Area in Canton. The City’s Law Department is currently investigating the legal aspects of my proposal. I look forward to seeing this project though and what it will bring to Waltham.
In 2019 the Waltham Community Preservation Committee approved the request that the Recreation Department and I submitted for $50,000 for restoration of the former Wellington Farm at 735 Trapelo Rd. This parcel is located between the Wellington House and the Engine 8 Fire Station. This 6 acre parcel was farmed as late as 1990 by the Ricci Family who operated Ricci Farms on Trapelo Road. The state leased out this parcel to the Riccis to grow vegetables (squash, corn, etc.) for their farmstand.
The trees growing onsite are mostly invasives under 30 years old. Clearing of the 6 acre parcel is expected to be completed in fall of 2020 with the first crops grown the following year. All old growth trees on the perimeter and specimen trees on the interior have been flagged and will be preserved. Preserved trees of particular note are an approximately 160 year old Sugar Maple and an 180 year old Silver Maple on Woburn Street
The farm will enhance the historic 1787 Wellington House and will be used in conjunction with educational programs to be administered by the city's Recreation Department. We envision perimeter walking trails, wildflower fields, bee hives, chickens, pumpkin fields and orchards (cherry, apple, peach and black walnut).
Powered Doors for Disability Aceess
During my tenure on the City Council I have fought for the installation of automatic powered doors at every development that has required a special permit from the Waltham City Council. Powered doors provide safer access for people using wheelchairs and walkers. Typically the cost of their installation is miniscule compared to overall building cost. On numerous occasions I have witnessed people in wheelchairs having to wait until a kind citizen opens the door for them. Unfortunately Massachusetts’ current building code does not require their installation.
Recent sites now with automatic doors now include Starbucks at 1019 Trapelo Rd, Panera Bread & Five Guys Burgers at 1030 Main St, and Marriott Courtyard & Holiday Inn Express at 385 Wyman St. In the fall of 2020 I intend to submit an ordinance change to require automatic powered doors as a condition of the special permit.