Encore Should Pay

JANUARY 5: Encore Boston Harbor towers over roofs as seen from Day Playground. (Photo by Jim Mahoney)

The topic of a new public safety facility to provide for the needs of the growing city came up at Monday evening’s city council meeting.

The city needs such a facility.

With an expected crush of development coming in what will be the former Exxon site, and the same one day to take place on the Exelon Property, it is high time to pursue this integral part of the development scheme on Lower Broadway.

Out of necessity it should be a large facility housing fire, police and rescue elements in the area of the Encore Boston Harbor Casino and Hotel.

Councilor Wayne Matewsky has set the ball rolling with that suggestion, which took place before the council at his request. Such a facility built in today’s dollars would cost as much as $30 – $40 million to build and to outfit with automobiles, fire apparatus and rescue ambulances. It should also be equipped with a cell block as well as a triage and training area.

The package needs to include a great part of the funding to cover the cost of manning of the facility.

It is easy to see the need for as many as 40-60 new firefighters and police officers, ambulance drivers and administrative personnel.

There might very well be billions more in new development and tens of thousands of men and women working in the high tech and medical research industries working and living here on new streets in thousands of new units in dozens of new buildings.

The request for a new major public safety facility here is on the mark at the moment.

Everett East of the Parkway and extending to the shoreline of the Mystic River is likely to become a city unto itself in the next decade.

If the city plays its cards right, development in this long polluted and forgotten lost end of the city will dwarf Assembly Square – which is today a city unto itself in a Somerville that has been transformed by its development.

The Exxon property is almost 100 acres by itself. The land is entirely and thoroughly polluted.

Steve Wynn, the defrocked former founder and owner of Wynn Resorts showed us what can be done with polluted land as the Encore site was one of the most polluted pieces of land in all of the United States; soaked with arsenic twelve feet down.

With about $70 million, the pollution was mitigated and the casino and hotel built there.

The Exxon property is 3 times the size of the Encore 33 acre site.

If three times the money it took to build the Encore project goes into investments in this area alone, it is likely to produce at least $5 billion in new investment – and that is a low figure.

The mayor should seize this opportunity to anchor the city’s future by tying to it a new public safety facility that Encore pays for.

This would be fair and it would be right.

Encore should welcome the opportunity to do the right thing for the city.

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