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Gov. Baker announces $4.2 million grant for new Quincy Center park

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October 14, 2015
Gov. Charlie Baker described John and Abigail Adams as two of the most important figures in early American history. So housing the couple’s remains, he says, in the middle of a busy rotary, isn’t an appropriate way to honor them.

“I sometimes think because so much of the history associated with the birth of this great country happened so close to home around here, that we tend to minimize its importance and its significance,” Baker said.

Baker is hoping a $4.2 million state grant he awarded to the city of Quincy on Monday will help the city build Adams Green, the name of the public park planned for Quincy Center. The park is expected to run between City Hall, Hancock Cemetery and the Church of Presidents, which is where former presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams, and their wives, are entombed.

Baker announced the $4.2 million grant, awarded as part of the Gateway City Parks Program administered by the state’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, at a press conference alongside Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch and other officials.

Its the second Gateway City Parks grant directed to the Adams Green project. In 2012, $1 million was awarded to Quincy for the design of the park, which will significantly change traffic flow in Quincy Center as part of plan to accentuate the city’s history while adding recreation and entertainment space that would complement new private residential, retail and office space downtown.

“It’s very appropriate for the state to invest in this project because we should partner with you to make this asset available and attractive for people that come to visit our state and come to visit this great city of Quincy,” Polito said.

Koch said all of the $4.2 million will be used to pay for underground utility and infrastructure work that’s needed between City Hall and the Church of Presidents. Koch said construction of the park itself, which will include green space, walkways and public art, including new bronze sculptures of John Adams and John Hancock, likely won’t start until 2017.

Koch said the city is still pursuing up to $20 million in additional funding to pay for the park from the state’s Infrastructure Investment Incentive Program, known as I-Cubed. I-Cubed funding is awarded only when the city can prove that new private development downtown will produce enough new state revenue through sales and payroll taxes to pay back the debt.

The city has received preliminary approval for I-Cubed funding, and its application deadline for final approval has been extended to 2017.

The roadway and sidewalk portion of the Adams Green project started last year and is ongoing. The $7.9 million project, which has removed parking spaces and disrupted traffic, is expected to widen sidewalks, beautify the streetscape and it will eventually discontinue traffic along Hancock Street. The state is funding $7 million of the project cost with federal money, and the city is covering the rest.

By Patrick Ronan  The Patriot Ledger