« PreviousContinue »
the two arms to be built by the State and the Water Power Company.
The City has also the right to enter this main and collateral sewers, ad libitum, at its own expense. This arrangement will afford ample relief to the sewerage
of the territory included under the indenture of 1827, before alluded to, as soon as it can be carried into effect. The settlement of this matter must be regarded by all who are familiar with the subject, and by all who may hereafter investigate it, as one of the most important transactions in which the city has been concerned for many years. It has put an end to a long and harassing controversy between sundry parties, has rendered certain to the city an important and almost indispensable privilege which has been involved in doubt, and this almost without cost to its treasury; and it looks to the conversion of an unsightly and pestiferous marsh into solid territory, to be covered with taxable property of the highest class, whose aggregate valuation will be estimated by millions of dollars. I cannot leave this subject without bestowing the highest commendation upon the liberality of the projectors of these splendid improvements. They are in keeping with the most enlightened taste, the broadest conceptions of convenience, comfort and ornament, and cannot fail to reflect lasting honor upon those by whom they are planned and executed. When the whole shall have been incorporated within our own municipal limits, and these plans
consummated in spacious avenues and squares, rendered more attractive by the magnificent central street of 240 feet in width, and adorned with elegant and costly dwellings, cultivated gardens, spacious walks and carriage ways, and malls, together with all the ornaments which private wealth and luxurious taste shall bestow, this section of our city will present attractions scarcely surpassed by the most celebrated thoroughfares of the cities of the old world.
It may be proper to state, in connection with the matter of the sewerage involved in the Back Bay agreement, and which, when carried into effect, will relieve the houses built upon low lands at the south part of the city, that in the meantime some temporary means of relief should be provided for them, either by pumping at the end of the Dover street and other outlets, at certain times, or by such other means as may be preferred. This relief is due to the neighborhood in question, and I trust it will receive the earliest attention practicable. Some general law relative to the power of constructing sewers appears necessary.
It has been doubted, occasionally, whether the city possesses the right to lay drains in, or through, lands which it does not own or use for the purpose of public streets or ways. Cases not unfrequently occur in which drains are essential not only to the convenience, but to the health of its citizens; and in a matter of so great public importance, it is reasonable that the city should have
undoubted authority to take such easements in land of individuals as may be necessary in this respect, by paying therefor an adequate compensation.
The public lands have received careful and judicious management, during the past year, and the demand for lots continues unabated. There remain of these lands unsold, in the city proper, above or south of Dover street, 1,434,604 square feet, the estimated value of which is $875,000. This is exclusive of the South Bay territory, which contains 2,267,000 square feet, the estimated value of which is $906,800. The city also owns at South Boston, including flats and exclusive of streets, about 4,000,000 square feet of land, of the estimated value of $1,000,000.
The proceeds of sales, during the past year, have amounted to about $106,600. However desirable it may be to accomplish a reduction of liabilities by the sale of these lands, another advantage of almost equal importance is the increase of taxable property upon them, and the accommodation which they afford for population within the city. Since April last,-a term of only nine months, — the foundations have been laid of 175 houses, which are now nearly or quite completed, in that portion of the city between Dover street and the Roxbury line. These houses will average in value $7,000 each, amounting in the aggregate to $1,225,000; and if to these be added the number of houses which have been built or completed during the year, in this section only, the aggregate would not be less than 300 houses, not including wooden structures. With the view of continuing similar improvements, I renewedly commend the policy of disposing of these lands at moderate prices, with conditions for immediate improvement, and of making no sales of land to lie unimproved for speculative investments. It is also expedient that liberal appropriations of land should be made upon the unoccupied territory for public purposes, that the streets be made of ample dimensions, and that they be diversified by parks and squares. Such a policy, I feel assured, will be found by experience to be justified not less on the score of economy than by considerations of health, recreation and ornament. And when it is taken into account that, however appropriated at the outset, the character of these lands is probably thereby determined for a century to come, the latter considerations rise to paramount importance.
By the provisions of an ordinance recently adopted, the management of this great land interest will hereafter be guarded by a somewhat permanent Board, whose constitution secures the aid of experience in the management of its details, and yet leaves the determination of all results to the government of each
The tract of land known as South Bay territory and which lies east of Harrison avenue, and between Malden and Chester streets extended, has for many years occasioned great expense, and much embarrassment. In April, 1848, a contract was made by the city for filling up these flats, which work, with some interruptions, much controversy, change of plans, &c., has been prosecuted until the present time. Much money has been here expended to little benefit; the reasons for which are too numerous and too complicated to admit of brief statement. I am happy to be able to say, however, that the work is now progressing upon a plan which promises sufficient stability when completed, and there is reason to hope that it will be finished during the coming season. When completed, one demand for considerable expenditure will cease, and these lands will be a source of income. They are of great extent, and will afford excellent wharf accommodations for vessels of small draft, and also accommodations for buildings for mechanical and manufacturing purposes, for which they are well adapted.
I approach the subject of our public charitable and reformatory institutions with some embarrassment. While we enjoy a reputation in this department, tran