The next generation's storms: Walsh unveils climate action plans

BOSTON — Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says the challenge of climate change is an urgent priority.

He unveiled a sweeping plan Wednesday to redevelop the city's coastline to protect against its effects.

Walsh's proposals call for building or improving parks and beaches to create natural barriers, raising low-lying streets along the harbor and building more seawalls in neighborhoods from Dorchester to East Boston.

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The plans could cost up to a billion dollars over the coming decades, but the mayor says to do nothing now would cost a lot more later.

"Climate change is very real to Bostonians," Mayor Walsh said.

The plan, called "Resilient Boston Harbor" lays out strategies along Boston's 47-mile shoreline that will increase access and open space along the waterfront while better protecting the city during a major flooding event.

In his annual speech to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Walsh said it's time to invest in Boston's waterfront to protect the city's residents, homes, jobs, and infrastructure against the impacts of rising sea level and climate change

Overall, the initiative calls for improvements that will cost $521 million to $1 billion over the coming decade.

"We’re not just planning for the next storms we will face, we are planning for the storms the next generation will face," he said.

The mayor pleaded to spend 10 percent of all new capital spending on resiliency projects.

Target projects include: 

East Boston: Like Bennington Street 
Charlestown: Constitution Beach 
North End: Christopher Columbus Park 
South Boston: Fort Point Channel
Dorchester: Morrissey Boulevard

Walsh says the plans will require funding from state and federal governments as well as area businesses and property owners.

The city has a climate action plan on its website.

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