By Seth Daniel
The new Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) has been submitted to the City Council and City Manager Tom Ambrosino said it is a huge uptick in spending – with some $27 million in investments on the City over the next two years.
“It’s time to invest our money,” he said. “The City finances are in good shape with lots of reserves and not a lot of debt. It’s time to transition into a new era in Chelsea where we’re investing in programs and infrastructure to improve the City.”
The previous CIP spent about $9 million over one year.
Ambrosino said he hopes the Council will approve the plan, and that a central highlight is a major investment in the Broadway corridor from City Hall to Chelsea Square.
Ambrosino said he has requested $400,000 in planning money for this coming fiscal year to map out the changes with the community. In the second year of the CIP, he is requesting that $5 million be spent on infrastructure in the Broadway business district.
“The goal would be to plan this over the course of the next year,” he said. “We want to do new streetscapes, ornamental lighting and maybe a facade improvement program.”
Chamber of Commerce President Sergio Jaramillo said his organization is on board with the plan.
“We certainly support any and everything that can improve the look of the Broadway corridor,” he said. “It’s important because that infrastructure and that area is very important. The Chamber is very committed to working with Tom and the City Council on this to make sure it gets carried out.”
Ambrosino said he also wants to explore – at the same time – the idea of moving the bus circulation and the bus stop in front of Bunker Hill Community College.
“That bus stop cuts them off totally from the rest of the Square,” he said. “I want to open up Bunker Hill to the Square and connect them to us.”
He said he pictures buses perhaps stopping in a central area in the Square rather than in several different stops.
“I’d like to do something like that, but I don’t know if I can pull that off,” he said, noting that changes to the T program are very difficult to enact.
After that, he said he has a lot of spending for the neighborhoods, including the district of Councillor Giovanni Recupero, who has often pointed out that many of his streets don’t have lights and some sidewalks have been neglected so long that there appears there was never a sidewalk in place.
“There is a call for a lot of investment in streets, sidewalks and schools,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot of investment over the next two years if the Council approves this. It’s an investment of about $27 million and that’s exclusive of the $20 million we’re investing in the new Clark Avenue School.”
One thing that isn’t on that list is the full reconstruction of Broadway from Revere to City Hall – a stretch of road that is in really tough shape and needs work above and below ground.
“We’ll likely push that off to 2021,” he said. “That’s a $10 million plan. We’ll continue to band aid that solution for a bit. That requires major work on the pipes and utilities.”