For Immediate Release - April 15, 2010


Click here to watch a video from the Governor's event at Community Boating Inc.

BOSTON - Thursday, April 15, 2010 - Governor Deval Patrick today pledged state funds to supplement private fundraising for the replacement of deteriorated timber docks and float system at Community Boating Inc. on Boston's Esplanade. This public-private partnership represents a fitting tribute to the 100th anniversary of this unique riverside park.

"The Esplanade and Community Boating - the oldest and biggest public sailing program in the nation - are two Massachusetts treasures," said Governor Patrick. "I am happy to pledge the state's support in this public-private effort to ensure that the pleasure of sailing on the Charles River remains available to all."

In 2007, the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) embarked on a public process to seek input on a design for replacing the docks. That design is now 95 percent complete and with the Governor's promise of state funding, DCR is prepared to complete the design and solicit bids for replacing the docks this summer. Work could begin as soon as October 2010, after this summer's boating season, and reach completion in May 2011, in time for next season.

This funding, announced by Governor Patrick during an afternoon visit to Community Boating, is contingent upon the organization raising an additional $500,000 for the project. DCR estimates the overall cost of the dock project to be roughly $4 million. In addition to replacing the docks, the upcoming project also will repair the existing dock house, sail shed, and boat ramp structure, and will improve access to the main boathouse entrance and add an interior ramp between the lobby and the locker room.

"On behalf of all the sailors at Community Boating, we would like to express our thanks and gratitude to Governor Patrick and DCR Commissioner Sullivan for their commitment," said Charles Zechel, executive director of Community Boating Inc. "This work will ensure that future generations of children in Massachusetts will be able to enjoy sailing on the Charles River as their parents and grandparents and great-grandparents did before them."

"We are pleased and honored that Governor Patrick has chosen to help fund the work at Community Boating," said DCR Commissioner Richard K. Sullivan Jr. "DCR has designated the Community Boating docks project as its top fundraising priority in recognition of the Esplanade Centennial this year, and we thank the Governor very much for his support."

"The Esplanade Association applauds Governor Patrick and Commissioner Sullivan for taking steps to replace this essential feature of the Esplanade for the benefit and enjoyment of all park users," said Jeryl Oristaglio, president of the board of directors of the Esplanade Association.

Community Boating is a nonprofit organization that operates a sailing program along DCR's Charles River Esplanade near the Hatch Shell. The program, which serves several thousand sailers of all ages and abilities each year, is an integral and important part of DCR's recreational programming along the Esplanade. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Charles River Esplanade, and this investment in the docks will help ensure the public's enjoyment of sailing on the Charles River into the Esplanade's second century.

"As we approach the 100th anniversary of the Esplanade, these projects will be instrumental in showcasing the beauty and access of this rich urban resource to both neighborhood residents and visitors alike. I want to thank the Patrick-Murray Administration for their commitment to our world class parks system," said Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz.

"This is spectacular news for everyone who enjoys Community Boating and the Esplanade. As a long-time advocate for funding of the dock repairs, I am thrilled that the Commonwealth is able to supplement Community Boating's own fundraising to make these essential repairs a reality," said Representative Marty Walz.

Community Boating Inc. is the oldest and largest public sailing program in the country. Sailing lessons began in 1936, and Community Boating Inc. was incorporated as a nonprofit, educational group in 1946. In 2007, DCR's Universal Access Program partnered with Community Boating to expand the boating programs by providing sailing for individuals with special needs or who require special attention or assistance. In 2008, the accessible boating program was honored by the US Sailing Community Sailing Council with an Award for Outstanding Program for Disabled Sailors.

In addition to this dock restoration project, DCR has made many improvements to the Storrow Drive/Esplanade area over the past two years.

The agency has made $13 million in interim repairs to the Storrow Drive Tunnel, ensuring the tunnel's safety for another five years while its long-term rehabilitation needs are considered. Repairs include replacing deteriorated concrete in the roof and wall sections of the approaches to the tunnel; installing waterproofing membranes in the roof joints to prevent water seepage; removing the tile wall and painting the concrete walls within the tunnel; replacing, cleaning, and painting structural steel and replacing the lighting system.

DCR also has made $4.8 million in safety and recreational improvements along Storrow Drive and Soldiers Field Road between Leverett Circle and the Eliot Bridge, funded by the $1.7 billion Environmental Bond Bill signed by Governor Patrick in August 2008. These improvements include:

· Installing 10,000 linear feet of fencing, including replacement of damaged fencing along DCR's Charles River Reservation.

· Improving 4,800 linear feet of Boston Pattern Fencing by removing lead paint, refinishing and repainting.

· Rehabilitating 11,000 linear feet of guardrail, and replacing an additional 12,000 linear feet of guardrail on the Charles River Reservation side with new green-painted guardrails.

· Replacing 19,000 feet of damaged curbing at various sites along the Charles River Reservation.

· Repairing 900 feet of bike path between the Eliot Bridge and Newell Boathouse.

· Reconfiguring 1,200 feet of bike lane/sidewalk along Soldiers Field Frontage Road from River Street to Western Avenue and repairing 800 feet of footpath at Storrow Lagoon.

· Replacing the fitness equipment along Storrow Drive and installing a new rubberized safety surface material.

· Planting more than 40 trees along the pathways between the River Street Bridge and the Eliot Bridge.

· Replacing 183 mercury vapor lamps with energy saving LED lamps. Additionally, new lamps and fixtures were installed along walkways between Leverett Circle and BU Bridge.