By Seth Daniel
There’s a light shining in District 6 – a street light to be exact.
A major investment into the infrastructure of District 6 – located along the Chelsea Creek and back of the hill neighborhoods – is about to take place this fall and coming spring, and Councillor Giovanni Recupero is all smiles.
On a recent afternoon, while walking on a sidewalk that contained more grass that concrete due to years of neglect, Recupero pointed up to a street light on Lynn Street Extension, as well as new poles dotting the street all the way up Lynn Street and even down on Charles Street, next to the Boston Hides and Furs.
The poles are the locations for new streetlights, and not replacements, but rather locations on a street that was pitch black most nights and the center of a good amount of Chelsea’s street violence.
“It’s been dark over here for decades and it made it unsafe,” he said. “People didn’t feel safe. It was too dark at night. I asked for streetlights here for years and they told me that it could never be done, especially on Charles Street. Now it’s done. It was done with the help of the new City Manager and the new City Council who all have the best intentions of the people in mind. That’s why District 6 is finally getting attention. District 6 was the most neglected district in the city for years. It’s falling apart, but we’re going to get it back together now.”
In addition to that, Recupero happily announced that Lynn Street would be paved all the way to the top, which was a joint project with Councilor Enio Lopez.
He also said Suffolk Street would be paved and sidewalks re-instituted – it being one of the worst streets in the entire City for pavement and sidewalks. In fact, Recupero pointed to sidewalks on Suffolk that no long exist because they’ve become so overgrown and other sidewalks that seem like lawns interspersed with a little bit of concrete.
“The money is already allocated for Lynn Street and Suffolk Street,” he said. “It’s just a matter of time.”
Another major improvement, and something Recupero said he was also told could never be done, is getting a traffic stoplight on Charles Street so residents can cross Marginal Street to the PORT Park.
Using a little-known neighborhood improvement fund provided by Eastern Salt, Recupero said he was able to secure $141,000 to get the light placed on Marginal Street.
“We have this great new park over there, but no on goes to it because there is too much dog (waste) there and because, most important, it was too dangerous to cross the street,” he said. “There was no crosswalk to get there and cars go too fast. The Council never wanted to let me get that because it was so expensive, but I found the money. That money was meant for my district and now we’re going to use it for the traffic light.”
Next on his list, he said, will be the other side to the district. He said Hawthorne Street is scheduled to be done next year, and he’s working on Park, Division and Shurtleff Streets.
“This is the most neglected portion over here so I’m working on that first,” he said. “It’s the worst part, but it’s getting better. Next, I’m going to concentrate on the other side of District 6 by Congress Street.”