GOVERNOR PATRICK VISITS PEDDOCKS ISLAND TO TOUR IMPROVEMENTS, CELEBRATE ADMINISTRATION’S INVESTMENTS IN THE HARBOR ISLANDS
HULL— Thursday, July 31, 2014— Governor Deval Patrick today joined Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Maeve Vallely Bartlett, Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Commissioner Jack Murray and the Boston Harbor Island Alliance to celebrate the opening of the newly renovated chapel and several other improvement projects at DCR’s Peddocks Island. The improvements are part of the Patrick Administration’s commitment to expanding and enhancing recreational opportunities, especially in densely populated areas.
“I am proud to celebrate the investments we have made in Peddocks Island, providing greater recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike,” said Governor Patrick. “When we invest in our urban green space and infrastructure, we invest in growing our communities.”
More than $15 million in private and public investments have been made in safety, utility and facility improvements to Peddocks Island during the Patrick Administration in partnership with the Boston Harbor Island Alliance. In 2012, DCR reopened Peddocks Island to the public with a newly renovated Welcome Center. A new Yurt campsite and comprehensive interpretive signage system was completed in 2013. In July 2014, DCR and the Boston Harbor Island Alliance completed the $1.8 million renovation of the Peddocks Island Chapel. The Boston Harbor Island Alliance invested over $14 million overall in improvements to Peddocks Island.
“Under Governor Patrick’s leadership, we have been able to provide access to thousands of acres of open space and parkland across the Commonwealth,” said Secretary Bartlett. “The work done at Peddocks Island will provide visitors with a unique experience. I congratulate all the partners for their tireless dedication and effort.”
Like many of the Boston Harbor Islands, Peddocks Island served as home to Native Americans. It was primarily used for farming until 1634. During the Revolutionary War, 600 militia members were stationed at Peddocks Island to guard against the return of British soldiers, following the evacuation of Boston in 1776. In 1904, Fort Andrews was built on the island, where it served as a harbor defense fort until the end of World War II.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts purchased Peddocks Island in 1970. Since its acquisition, the state has been actively developing and improving the island as a historical and recreational resource.
DCR’s adaptive reuse plan for Peddocks Island shifted the island from military use to public recreational use through a combination of:
- Selective demolition and stabilization of 23 buildings for future use;
- Rehabilitation of the Guardhouse for use as a Welcome Center;
- Renovation of the island pier making it Americans with Disabilities Act Compliant;
- Creation of conference space, public restrooms, and a caretaker’s apartment; and
- Development of camping areas featuring tent sites, group sites and furnished yurts.
Since taking office in 2007, The Patrick Administration has invested $24.7 million to improve and enhance the Boston Harbor Islands experience for visitors. In 2010, DCR completed at $10 million rehabilitation of Georges Island, which included renovating the former Administration Building to serve as a visitor center, creating a shade shelter and concession area, and installing a solar panel array to power the new visitor center. In 2010, DCR worked with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) on a $375,000 dredging project along the Spectacle Island Marina, and $283,500 to upgrade the beams and floats at the marina. In 2013, DCR’s Office of Waterways worked with BHIA to complete a $242,000 project which created ADA accessible floats at Bumpkin, Grape, and Lovells Islands. These investments are central to DCR’s mission of protection, promoting and enhancing our natural, cultural, and recreational resources.
“The work DCR and our partners at the Boston Harbor Island Alliance have done at Peddocks Island has helped rejuvenate and restore this once dormant location into a prized community asset,” said DCR Commissioner Jack Murray. “I would like to thank Governor Patrick and the Boston Harbor Island Alliance for ensuring that this wonderful island will be enjoyed for generations to come.”
”The Boston Harbor Island Alliance works in partnership every day with the DCR to make improvements to the Boston Harbor Islands,” said Boston Harbor Island Alliance President Phil Griffiths. “Our investment of $14 million in improvements to DCR’s Peddocks Island, and our access programs providing over 15,000 free trips to the Harbor Islands every year for youth and families from low income communities, represent a true public/private partnership in making this remarkable place a park for everyone.”
"This first phase of rehabilitation to Peddocks Island is a shining example of the power of partnership," said Giles Parker, Superintendent of Boston Harbor Islands. "The new trails, campsites, and restored historic structures illustrate how teams of dedicated people from both the public and private sector can improve our parks for recreation, relaxation and education. Peddocks is ready for the next phase with a new generation of explorers."
The Patrick Administration has made a historic investment of more than $370 million in land conservation focused on three goals: investing in urban parks, preserving working farms and forests and protecting large natural landscapes for habitat. This investment has resulted in the protection of more than 120,000 acres of land and the renovation or creation of over 170 parks since 2007, including projects in 310 of 351 communities, and 50 of those in the Commonwealth’s urban cities. The land conserved and parks created are within a 10 minute walk of 1.5 million residents – about 25 percent of the state’s population. According to a report by The Trust for Public Land, outdoor recreation generates $10 billion in consumer spending, $739 million in state and local tax revenue and $3.5 billion in wages and salaries each year in Massachusetts.