Nearly 16 years to the day that Muddy River floodwaters entered the Kenmore Square T station, closing Green Line service, seeping into college computer rooms, and threatening art treasures at the Museum of Fine Arts, the Army Corps of Engineers will break ground on a three-year project to prevent a recurrence.
Next Wednesday, Governor Deval Patrick and other officials will open the first part of a $31 million project that will bring the river back above ground--replacing pavement, an old parking lot, and traffic with parkland and open river.
“This is very exciting,” said Betsy Shure Gross, vice chairwoman of the Muddy River Maintenance, Management and Oversight Committee (MMOC). The years since the flooding, she said, were taken up with an “enormously complex permitting project” involving historic restoration, pollutants in the bed of the Muddy River and wetlands permits. The state, the Army Corps, and both Boston and Brookline are financially and legally involved and the two municipalities have committed to maintaining the resulting parks.
“This will be a great gift to the folks who work, live and study near the river,” Gross said.
For the next three years or so, those passing through the area will notice the construction and various traffic detours.
The new parklands will restore a missing link in the Emerald Necklace, the chain of parks that includes Jamaica Pond and Franklin Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the nation’s first landscape architect.