The Senator Joseph Finnegan Park at Port Norfolk, once home to a variety of industrial companies, was transformed from an industrial wasteland to 12-acre waterfront park along the mouth of the Neponset River. GEI initially performed site investigations and preliminary design and permitting. The team worked closely with the DCR and the surrounding community to develop the design. Once the state could secure funding for the project, GEI was tasked with managing final design and preparation of bid documents as well as assisting the DCR with construction management.
The Park was a cleanup project that resulted in a beautiful passive park. To ensure this paradigm shift, the DCR engaged GEI as the lead designer and Licensed Site Professional (LSP). This approach ensured that the programming and park features would be protective of both human health and the environment. This required an integrated and collaborative team from the earliest planning stages through construction.
The project required numerous permits. The permitting agencies challenged the DCR and its consultants to design sustainable and resilient solutions to protect this ecologically sensitive area. The passive park design accommodated the river’s floodwaters. The design not only protected but expanded the onsite salt marshes which are an invaluable resource. Rather than rebuild dilapidated seawalls with hardened structures such as riprap and bulkheads, the shoreline was stabilized with a “living shoreline.” This natural bank stabilization enhanced the shoreline to carry out natural processes and provided habitat for estuarine species. The Park and its bank stabilization provides a model on how innovation can be incorporated into a resource constrained project.