Arborway Yard could be a ‘problem property’

State and city legislators are considering placing the temporary Arborway bus yard on a “problem properties” list to kick-start the building of a permanent facility.

The problem properties list is maintained by a local group of law enforcement and city officials and so far has only ever included private property. The goal is to restore the properties to a safe and sanitary condition. Failure to do so can result in legal action against property owners—in this case, the MBTA—by the city.

The Arborway bus yard, located at Washington Street and the Arborway, was built as a temporary facility eight years ago and is three years overdue to be replaced by a permanent facility. That final project would include 8 acres of mixed-use private developemtn on Washington Street. The permanent facility is ready to begin being built as soon as funds are located.

The MBTA recently applied for a federal grant, but was denied in late October.

“At this date, there is not an alternative financing plan for the project,” MBTA spokesperson Joe Pesaturo told the Gazette earlier this month.

“I was not pleased with the response from the state… This property has problems,” City Councilor Matt O’Malley told the Gazette last week. If the Arborway Yard is not cleaned up, listing it as a problem property “is a step we can take. The state has to clean it up. It’s a blight on neighborhood.”

State Rep. Liz Malia said she and other elected officials, including O’Malley, have “talked about it being a problem property. We’ve been talking to folks, including some people at the state [level] about the future of the Arborway Yard.”

“We’re trying to determine what are the next steps. We could theoretically put it on the problem properties list, but that was a little tongue-in-cheek,” she said. “This is a development opportunity that should be addressed.”

Despite the state’s failure to secure federal funds to build the Arborway Yard bus facility, the Community Planning Committee for the Arborway Yard (CPCAY) will keep pushing, said Chair Henry Allen.

“The failure to receive federal funding for the Arborway Yard Transit Facility has not in any way diminished the resolve of either the CPCAY or of our many community allies and elected officials,” Allen told the Gazette.

“Everyone has a lot of their plate, but I can’t fathom why we can’t sit down with the state and the city and have an adult conversation about this relatively major development opportunity,” Malia said.

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