‘It’s a missed opportunity for his legacy’: Long Island Bridge remains in limbo as Walsh departs

BOSTON — It’s a promise that Marty Walsh says he wishes he could have fulfilled during his time in office as mayor of Boston.

Walsh made rebuilding the Long Island Bridge and creating a recovery campus there a signature issue. He vowed to accomplish that during the 2018 swearing-in for his second mayoral term.

Residents in the South End, Roxbury and surrounding communities are now left to wonder where things go from here.

“I think it’s a missed opportunity for his legacy,” said South End resident Jonathan Alves. “It’s definitely part of the overall solution that many of us view as critical.

Alves questions how much Mayor Kim Janey will be able to accomplish during her time as interim mayor.

“Mayor Kim is very much aware of the challenge, but ultimately I think it’s going to fall on the next elected mayor’s plate to deal with,” said Alves. “It’s going to be a key issue in the mayor’s race.”

The issue remains tied up in litigation as the community of Quincy continues to fight to stop the project.

While Long Island is owned by Boston, access runs through Quincy’s Squantum neighborhood.

“I think it starts with the leadership. If they’re putting out a message that it’s bad and that it’s not the right thing to do, the rest of the residents are going to hear that messaging,” said South End resident Ashley Flynn.

Flynn moved to the South End during the pandemic from the Squantum neighborhood and is familiar with the different perspectives. She believes rebuilding the Long Island Bridge is a crucial step toward decentralizing services in the Mass and Cass area.

“It’s not safe to put it here. It’s not safe to put it a couple blocks down the street. It’s not safe for them either,” said Flynn. “It’s hard for the residents of the South End but also for the people who are displaced.”

Boston 25 News spoke with other neighbors and business owners on Tuesday who all said that open drug use and large crowds congregating continue to plague the community every day.

“It’s more than I’ve ever seen before,” added Alves. “There are hundreds of people still congregating.”

A spokesperson for the city of Boston said in a statement to Boston 25 News: “Boston is focused on creating a regional recovery campus on Long Island, guided by our fundamental belief that every person deserves a chance at recovery. We are in a crisis that is not dictated by town or city lines, and we would welcome the City of Quincy’s partnership as we take the bold steps required to help those suffering find their path to a better life.”

Boston 25 News reached out to Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch. He has not yet responded to the request for comment.

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