Groundbreaking of the Belle Isle Marsh Marine Ecology Park and Walkway

By Kate Anslinger

Local officials, Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, and Lt. Gov. Karen Polito break ground at Belle Isle Marsh.

Last Friday afternoon Lt. Governor Karyn Polito joined Town Manager Jim McKenna, Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, Town Council President Russ Sanford and Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Commissioner Leo Roy in a celebratory gathering of the groundbreaking at the Belle Isle Marsh.

The Seaport Economic Council has given the Town of Winthrop a total investment of $1.2 million since 2015, which will be dedicated to constructing a pier supported walkway and a marine ecology park that will border the marsh.

Upon completion, which is scheduled for October 2018, the park and walking path will have viewing stations along the Belle Isle Marsh, at the northern edge of Winthrop. In 2016, DCR and the Town of Winthrop launched a license that would allow the town’s use of the land, and the plans will align with the 2014 Strategic Economic Development Plan and the Open Space and Recreation Plan. The hope is to identify the marsh as a location for recreational and educational enhancements, which will benefit the community.

“The Belle Isle Marsh Ecology Park and Walkway will provide access for educational opportunities for our students and increase our eco-tourism offerings,” said Polito, chair of the Seaport Economic Council. “The Seaport Economic Council works closely with our 78 coastal communities to identify opportunities for collaboration to leverage existing assets and improve the blue economy.”

There is hope that this new development will bring more visitors to Winthrop, as it has been recognized as the last natural salt marsh in the area.

“As Boston’s last remaining salt marsh, it is imperative that we work together to ensure that the DCR’s Belle Isle Marsh Reservation and the surrounding area is protected for future generations of people to explore and enjoy,” said DCR Commissioner Leo Roy. “The Baker-Polito Administration remains dedicated to increasing access throughout the state parks system, and importantly, today’s groundbreaking event signifies a critical step to advancing that goal at this incredible natural resource.”

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