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BPDA votes to acquire 104-108 Walter St. in Roslindale, advancing community conservation priority

community-developed preferred site plan

At its December 17 meeting, the Boston Planning and Development Agency voted to acquire 104-108 Walter St. in Roslindale, a property that has been a conservation priority for neighbors for decades because it abuts the Roslindale Wetlands Urban Wild and absorbs stormwater runoff from throughout the area. The BPDA action paves the way to take this property off the market for private development and represents a step toward conserving 108 Walter St. as open space - one of Boston’s top five priority land acquisition sites - as well as creating four units of affordable ownership housing at 104 Walter.

Stormwater runoff management has become increasingly important as climate change brings more heavy and intense storms. Climate concerns and development pressures galvanized a group of neighbors and abutters who have worked with city and state officials to advocate for the acquisition of 108 Walter Street, a 37,000 square foot parcel that would be appended to the 9.5-acre Roslindale Wetlands Urban Wild. As part of their efforts, Roslindale Wetlands advocates joined with neighborhood groups from around the city to support the passage of Boston’s local wetlands ordinance in December 2019.

The second part of the community’s vision for the future of these parcels is to create four units of affordable ownership housing at 104 Walter Street. The housing component will advance equity and inclusion in an increasingly expensive neighborhood.

In a parallel project, the city is investing $500,000 in capital improvements elsewhere in the Roslindale Wetlands Urban Wild, such as wetlands crossings, trail upgrades, removing piles of dumped construction debris, and other ecological restoration work. These planned improvements increased the imperative of adding 108 Walter to the conservation area.

In November, the city received a $387,000 grant from the Commonwealth to help pay for the purchase of 104 and 108 Walter, which were offered for sale jointly. The Longfellow Area Neighborhood Association (LANA) received a planning grant and hired architectural firm PlaceTailor Design to work with neighbors during two October workshops. A preferred site plan was developed for affordable home ownership opportunities and open space conservation for climate resiliency. The resulting consensus proposal makes possible the preservation of 108 Walter Street, which is closest to the wetlands boundary and the most ecologically sensitive, and proposes four units of affordable ownership housing at 104 Walter, which has already been developed and now includes a single-family house and a dilapidated barn.

Following the BPDA vote, a closing to effect the purchase is expected before the end of the year, after which the agency will transfer most of the 108 Walter Street parcel to the Boston Conservation Commission for permanent protection and stewardship.

The Roslindale Wetlands Task Force and Longfellow Area Neighborhood Association expressed thanks to the elected officials who supported the project, especially Mayor Marty Walsh, City Councilors Ricardo Arroyo, Andrea Campbell, Annissa Essaibi-George, Matt O’Malley, and Michelle Wu; State Representatives Nika Elugardo and Ed Coppinger; and State Senator Mike Rush. CEDAC (Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation) and the Kuehn Charitable Foundation provided assistance with a planning grant to LANA.

More information about the consensus vision for the property, developed during the two October workshops, is available at www.LongfellowArea.org and www.RoslindaleWetlands.org.




Whoever gets the affordable unit at the back will have an enviable view.

Voting closed 20

With this right behind the house where I rented the first floor and I never ventured back there. I always thought somebody behind me had a huge yard.

Voting closed 10

I used to live nearby and it seems like they have been talking about this forever. I'm excited to explore the wetlands once they have all the updates in place.

Voting closed 14

Recently, I decided to walk over to that neck of the neighborhood to see what the fuss was about. I entered on Coniston and walked to the entrance on Selwyn (at the intersection with Robken.) The latter entrance had a sign and everything.

My short review is that as a public space, its alright, but nothing to write home about. That said, seeing all that water pooling at spots, I see why it should be preserved. Building would be environmentally unsound.

Voting closed 14

I live on Walter & know the area - sure, remove the abandoned, barely-standing garage (or don't - it's sort of a cool relic, and it'll fall on it's own one day), and there are a few piles of junk to be hauled out. Lay some wooden boards over the mucky areas that right now have improvised walkways made of branches if you want - but what in the ever loving christ besides paying some outsized labor rates for "landscape & privacy buffers" can this be going for?

Housing project aside, which has it's own budget - this sounds a whole lot less like money being spent on real improvements and a whole lot more of busywork & paying salaries for landscape architects and environmental consulting groups to make powerpoints about doing a little bit of trail maintenance and adding a boardwalk & bench or two.

Voting closed 15

If they are trying to make the area more accessible, there's a lot of work that will need to go into it. Essentially, everything now is ad hoc. Go down to the south end of the Sherrin Street Urban Wild to get an idea of what need to go in, and let's not forget what needs to be taken out.

Voting closed 8

The restoration plan is posted here:


The bulk of the expense is the construction of boardwalks over inundated areas -- definitely not cheap. This will make the trail a complete loop.

Voting closed 8