More than 60 residents of Malden, Medford and Everett congregated at the Malden Public Library on Monday June 26th to kick-off the visioning process for the Malden River Greenway Plan. A few familiar faces trickled in early, and by starting time, the line at the sign-in table stretched into the hallway and every seat in the room was filled.
The night began with a meet-and-greet poster session, where participants could get better acquainted with each other as well as maps of the amenities currently available on the Malden River. Other more interactive posters showcased riverfront parks from around the country, allowing participants to vote on the elements that they would most like to see on their local river.
In a brief introductory presentation, MyRWA Greenways Director, Amber Christoffersen and design consultant, Drew Kane of Utile outlined the project scope and laid out the different ways that stakeholders can get involved, including attending public meetings, completing a survey and using a newly launched online mapping tool. To date, close to 130 completed surveys have been collected, offering valuable insights into how people currently use and perceive the Malden River. Among survey participants, 70% live near the Malden River, with 56% going there especially for recreation. 10% of respondents reported going to the river more than once a week. “Disconnected”, “dirty”, “debris”- these were common complaints about the present state of the river. However, most responses also demonstrated a great optimism for the “beautiful”, “tranquil”, “hidden gem” that is the Malden River.
The remainder of the evening was dedicated to break-out sessions, with smaller groups brainstorming and documenting how they would like to see the Malden River evolve in the future. From better bike paths and pathway lighting, to pedestrian bridges and picnic areas, there was enthusiastic support for a cleaner, healthier, more accessible Malden River.
Photos of the evening can be found here. Also check out our updated Malden River Greenway website, with a newly created project timeline, including links to press coverage here. Join us on August 8th at River’s Edge in Medford for the second public meeting, a workshop featuring early design concepts for the greenway plan. For project updates, sign up for our enewsletter or contact Greenways Director Amber Christoffersen.