Jeffries Point residents will soon be enjoying a newly constructed Airport Edge Buffer located at the former Navy Fuel Pier on Marginal Street in East Boston. The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), which runs Boston Logan International Airport, invested nearly $2 million to construct the ¾ acre airport edge buffer as part of its 1997 Community Mitigation Agreement with the East Boston community for the modernization of Boston Logan International Airport. Part of the agreement commits Massport to spend nearly $15 million for the design, construction and maintenance of four airport edge buffers throughout East Boston.
Airport edge buffers are passive recreation areas intended to provide neighborhoods located in close proximity to Logan Airport with quality open/green spaces. Massport has committed to develop four airport edge buffers at various East Boston sites: the Bayswater Embankment; the perimeter of Logan’s Southwest Service Area (SWSA); the Navy Fuel Pier site; and an undetermined location in the general Neptune Road area. To date, the Bayswater Embankment buffer is complete, and Phase 1 of the SWSA buffer along Maverick Street is very close to completion. Construction of the $2 million Navy Fuel Pier buffer began in May 2006 and is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2007.
“As Logan Modernization nears completion it’s important that we not forget our commitments to our neighbors and the overall East Boston community,” said Massport CEO and Executive Director Thomas J. Kinton, Jr. “The Airport Edge Buffer Program returns open space to the East Boston community and, with the cooperation of our Jefferies Point neighbors, I believe we have created a community asset that will benefit East Boston for years to come.”
The Navy Fuel Pier site was originally contaminated and in need of environmental remediation which Massport undertook with the assistance of the Army Corps of Engineers in 2002. Current improvements to the site include: shore line stabilization, planting of flowers and shrubs, walking paths, utilization of natural materials for seating, a lighted American Flag pole, and ornamental fencing to provide security during the evening hours. Massport worked closely with the residents of Jeffries Point over a two year period to help ensure that the passive recreation needs of the neighborhood would be met.
“It’s very exciting to see this come to fruition,” said Jeffries Point resident Elizabeth Thomas. “Massport made a real effort to accommodate our ideas often times having to balance competing interests, to create a place where people would want to come and enjoy each others company at this new accessible waterfront spot in our own neighborhood.”
Massport has a long history of promoting open space initiatives in East Boston dating back to 1979 when Massport donated 149 acres of Belle Isle Marsh to the Commonwealth for preservation. Massport also constructed the Al Festa Little League Field in 1992, which is a state-of-the-art youth baseball facility located at Curtis and Horace Streets. Most notably, Massport spent $17 million dollars in 1996 to construct the 6.5 acres East Boston Piers Park.