by George A. Darcy III
On October 26, 2015, the Waltham City Council approved a $1.2 million appropriation for the demolition of 20 non-historic buildings in the northwest quadrant of the 196-acre recently acquired Fernald property. Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy submitted the CPA application for demolition to the Community Preservation Committee.
The buildings that will come down include four Malone Park structures, 11 cottages, Site 5, Site 7, Activity Center, Woodside, and Brookside. The cottages were constructed as a result of Judge Joseph Tauro’s decree for the state to build residential-like structures for the residents of Fernald. Unfortunately, these homes were built on wetlands filled in by the state in the 1970s.
The funding for the demolition comes from a combination of both CPA open space and CPA undesignated reserve funds. The area where the demolition will occur is in the CPA-funded portion of the city’s Fernald acquisition. The demolition of these buildings is the first phase of an effort to daylight streams and restore formerly functioning wetlands. A subsequent RFP will address the detailed design and restoration of the wetlands.
The winning demolition bid of $968,926 was awarded to the Costello Dismantling Company based in Wareham, MA. The appropriation included a 20% contingency fee. According to the RFP, the demolition work must be completed within 90 days from the date of the notice to proceed. The wetland restoration will provide critical downstream flood storage, and add additional wildlife habitat and passive recreational opportunities. There is a possibility to provide up to 1.8 million gallons of flood storage in these restored wetlands.
George A. Darcy III is a Waltham resident, a Waltham city councilor, and co-founder of the Waltham Land Trust.