Thursday, November 13, 2008

Marilyn Reports on DCR Report to Neighborhood

Marilyn has submitted the following to the editor of the Cambridge Chronicle:

Editor, Cambridge Chronicle

To the Editor:

At a neighborhood meeting November 12, DCR representatives once again heard about the need for improvements and proper maintenance at the pools and bath house at Magazine Beach. They also heard again about the need to repair the DCR footbridge, damaged years ago, for safe pedestrian access across Memorial Drive. Like all who use this state parkland, Cambridge residents want greater, and safer, use and enjoyment of these major facilities. Focus on the pools and footbridge has been a constant at all public meetings for ten years.

DCR representatives said they were working on all of the above and these things take time.

At Magazine Beach the DCR has had other, higher priorities. Together with Cambridge and the city’s $1.5M, it is destroying what has simultaneously been playing fields open to all, wetland habitat, and passive open space for city dwellers in need of air, light, and contact with the natural world. Our City Council and Manager, obsessed with the tax base and AAA bond rating, have chosen to appropriate state parkland for playing fields for Cambridge schools and groups, rather than invest in city-owned playing fields for our children in underserved neighborhoods like East Cambridge.

The prototype for Magazine Beach is the DCR’s Ebersol Fields, installed in May, 2006, near MGH in Boston. Runoff from chemicals applied to the commercial sod there fed the astronomical algae blooms that summer and after, undoing a $60M cleanup that had given the river a B+ rating there in late 2005. DCR representatives at the neighborhood meeting professed to know nothing about Ebersol’s role in this pollution. When asked what chemicals would be used to maintain the turf at Magazine Beach, they shrugged and pointed to Cambridge, which will be responsible for keeping its expensive stuff at peak quality. When asked what chemicals the sod they deliver will come with, the DCR did not answer.

What will our city’s so-called green policies bring to Magazine Beach, then? They’re now destroying these wetlands on the International Atlantic Flyway, redoing the riverfront path to previous specifications for a road suitable for cars and small trucks, and damaging mature trees at the northeast edge. They deny humans access to the river and river views with a wall of plants unique to the Charles: 10’ high, they are never whacked, not even for the Head of the Charles.

Some amenity our $1.5M is buying.

Yours sincerely,

Marilyn Wellons
651 Green Street
Cambridge 02139