A portion of SCAPE’s coastal resiliency plan for the city of Boston may be implemented soon. On July 27, the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) announced plans to fortify Tenean Beach, a public beach in the city’s Dorchester neighborhood, using designs by SCAPE Landscape Architecture and Woods Hole Group, an engineering firm based in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. BPDA’s goal is to protect Dorchester, I-93, and the MBTA Red Line from rising sea levels while providing greater access to nature and public space in an underserved community.
The $12 million project combines recreation and climate resilience. While simultaneously functioning as a land berm to insulate vital transportation infrastructure, SCAPE’s design will offer new and improved basketball and tennis courts, shaded picnic areas, and an upgraded playground. The new landscaping will connect Tenean Beach via pathways for pedestrians and cyclists to Boston’s Harborwalk and the Neponset Greenway Trail, an 8-mile linear park that hugs Boston’s shore.
“These vital transportation lines move the Dorchester community to their places of work and commerce. As a result, flooding would cause far-reaching impacts to the City’s economy such as shutdowns due to failure and maintenance, technical, or structural issues,” the BPDA stated. “The proposal seeks to minimize this risk in the near-term. In the long-term, it will be necessary to adapt and tie into adjacent ongoing efforts to further reduce risk in this area.”
Up the road from Tenean Beach will be Boston’s newest megaproject, Dorchester Bay City, a $5 billion development that will deliver 1,957 residential units, 20 percent of which will be affordable. Tenean is connected to Dorchester Bay City’s site via Morrissey Boulevard, a six-lane urban thoroughfare built in the 1950s that runs in parallel at some parts to I-93, cutting off Dorchester from the waterfront.
The BPDA’s redesign of Tenean Beach is happening in conjunction with broader efforts at the state level to improve Morrissey Boulevard. Tenean Beach’s forthcoming transformation will incorporate new fauna and wildlife on the beachfront including a reflective tree grove, a cascading dune covered in beachgrass, and lush plantings that line the perimeter.
Construction at Tenean Beach could begin next year if city officials raise the estimated $12 million needed for SCAPE’s design. City officials plan on requesting funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and state-level grants.