Since 2002, certificates under the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) have been issued by the Secretary of Environmental Affairs requiring Brookline to demonstrate an “enforceable commitment” to restore the Carlton Street Footbridge.
In July, a majority of the Brookline Board of Selectmen signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) specifying the responsibilities of the Commonwealth, City of Boston, and Town of Brookline with regard to the Muddy River Restoration Project. The MOU contains the following statement:
“The Town has authorized $90,000 to date for restoration of the Carlton Street Footbridge and has committed to the schedule in Attachment A. The SFEIR requires that the Town demonstrate enforceable commitments with respect to the Carlton Street Footbridge. If the Town does not demonstrate enforceable commitments by December 31, 2009, the Commonwealth may terminate this MOU or may limit its participation or funding under the MOU.
In November, Brookline Town Meeting voted 194-24 for Warrant Article 5 to appropriate $1.4 million for Footbridge restoration. This would include the cost of ramps for accessibility, although the requirement for accessibility must be decided based on consultation with the Mass. Historical Commission and Mass. Architectural Access Board. A Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP) grant could reduce this cost by up to 90%. Town officials are optimistic that this grant would be awarded.
Article 5 provided for 2 schedules. If a TEP grant of at least 60% is awarded, the Town has submitted a schedule with the MOU (referred to above as “Attachment A”) for completion by March 2013. If there is no TEP grant, the Town must execute a contract for restoration within 90 days after a contract is executed by the Army Corps of Engineers for dredging Riverway, Leverett Pond and Willow Pond, and substantially complete restoration on or before the dredging of Riverway, Leverett Pond and Willow Pond is complete.
Over the next several weeks, a Project Participation Agreement (PPA) must be executed between Boston, Brookline, the Commonwealth, and the Army Corps of Engineers. The signing of the PPA is likely in spring, 2010, and construction at the Landmark Center is likely to begin later in 2010.