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expense on the part of the city; but the necessity for such action, sooner or later, is imperative. The plan adopted for the improvement of the Church Street District was, to a certain extent, an experiment. It has been tried, the Court has passed upon its legality, and the result may be considered, on the whole, satisfactory. The expense has fallen considerably below the estimates; the property has been increased in value from fifty to one hundred per cent., and has been placed in a condition to continue to increase from year to year in proportion with the most desirable portions of the city.
In explanation of the delay in presenting such an important matter near the close of the year, the committee would state, that the surveys and descriptions of the estates, which, under the act, were required to be as accurate as in a common conveyance of land, could not be completed until the summer season; and in view of the large amount of work in progress, under orders of the City Council, and the fact that the work could hardly be entered upon before the cold weather interfered, it was not deemed expedient to do more this year than to take the property, define a plan of improvement, and provide for the appointment of a committee to carry out that plan as soon as the new government was organized.
The assessors' valuation of the real estate on the Suffolk Street District, on the 1st of May, 1869, amounted, in the aggregate to $4,298,700. After the taking has been decided upon, it will be necessary to have a careful appraisal made of the actual value of property at the time of the taking, in order to furnish a correct basis for settlement with the owners who choose to surrender their property to the city.
The peculiar condition of the territory surrounding this district made the establishment of a satisfactory grade extremely difficult. The committee have succeeded, however, in preparing a plan which they believe will be entirely satisfactory. The minimum grade, with certain exceptions, is the same as was adopted in the case of the Church Street District, namel
eighteen feet above mean low water, for streets and ways, and twelve feet for cellars, yards, and vacant lots. The exceptions are occasioned by the fact that the portions of Washington street and Dover street bounding on this district are below the grade of eighteen feet, and cannot be raised without unnecessary expense. The present grade of Dover street is sixteen feet at Tremont street and twelve feet at Suffolk street. At this lowest point the grade may be raised eighteen inches without involving the city in any cxpense for damages. The grade of Washington street, between Dover street and Pleasant street, varies from 14 to 236 feet.
Suffolk street, and other streets southwest of the railroads of the same general direction (Middlesex and Tremont streets excepted), beginning at the present grade of Dover street, attain, by an easy ascent, the grade of eighteen feet above mean low water, as near Dover street as practicable, and keep it to Chapman street. Middlesex street begins at Hingham street with that grade, and Tremont street attains it at Chapman street. The necessity for carrying Suffolk street over Orange street and the railroad, as hereinafter described, taken in connection with the Washington and Tremont street bridges, makes it imperative that Castle street on the one side, and Indiana place on the other side of the railroad, should be raised higher than would otherwise be necessary; and therefore, northeast of Chapman street, those streets having a general northeasterly direction all rise easily to the grade of Castle street. Northeast of the railroad, the streets of the same general direction fall gradually from the grade of Indiana place to the present grade of Pleasant street. The grades of these streets, ways, and portions of streets lying between Suffolk and Washington streets rise easily from the grade of Washington street to that of Suffolk street. Hingham and Lucas streets conform in grade to the grades of adjacent streets.
As the Boston and Albany Railroad Corporation require some means of access to that portion of their railroad grounds lying within this district, and as Orange street seems to be
the most available outlet for this purpose, it is proposed to leave that street at its present grade, and to carry Suffolk street over it by an iron bridge.
The committee have made no estimate for the raising of the buildings on the southerly side of Orange street, east of Suffolk street extension; but it is possible, as the work progresses, that it may be expedient to raise them to the grade of the houses fronting on Castle street, even if this street should remain at its present level. The grades of the streets and ways on this district are shown on a plan made by the City Surveyor.
The committee have given a good deal of attention to the subject of improving the streets on this district, by widening and extending a number of them in such a way as to develop the property to the fullest extent. Although the alteration of the street and ways on the district forms no part of the plan contemplated in the act of the legislature for the abatement of the nuisance, it is properly a part of the plan for the improvement of the district, and should be passed upon in the beginning, before the contracts for raising the buildings and the grade of the territory are made.
The changes proposed by the committee are as follows:
The widening of Suffolk street between Dover and Castle streets to sixty feet, by cutting off twenty feet of the estates on its southeasterly side; and the extension of the same over Orange street and the Boston and Albany Railroad by an iron bridge to Indiana place, and thence to Tremont street at Common street.
The widening of Castle street, between Washington and Tremont streets, to fifty feet, by cutting off about twenty-eight feet of the estates on its southwesterly side.
The widening of Middlesex street, between Hingham and Castle street, to about thirty-five feet, by cutting off nine feet of the estates on its northwesterly side, between Hingham street
and the jog near Castle street, and thirteen feet of the estates between the jog and Castle street.
The widening of Emerald street to a uniform width, by cutting off twenty feet of the estates on its northwesterly side, between Paul and Castle streets.
The widening of Carney place to thirty feet, by taking land on either or both sides.
The laying out of a new street forty feet in width from Washington street, nearly opposite Asylum street, to Suffolk street, for the purpose of developing a large area of unimproved land.
The widening of Washington street on its westerly side, between Cherry and Pleasant streets, as proposed by a plan adopted in 1860, so as to make the street nowhere less than fifty feet in width.
The extension of Wheeler's court to Indiana place, by taking the estate No. 41 Indiana place from William H. Adams, and a portion of the rear of estate No. 39 Indiana place from John Barnard; and the widening of Wheeler's court between Claflin place and Suffolk street as extended, by cutting off about ten feet of the estate on its southeasterly side.
The estimated cost of widening and extending the streets as above, in addition to the cost of raising, is as follows:
Suffolk street, widening and extending, including iron bridge and abutments
New street, through "White estate
Washington street .
31,000 00 32,000 00
There are several other streets within the territory, especiallv
north of the railroad, that should be made wider, but, on account of the compactness of the houses between the streets, preventing a widening without removing one entire tier of houses, the committee have deemed it inexpedient to recommend the widening.
No estimate has been made by this committee of the probable amount of betterment that could be assessed in consequence of the widening and extension of the above streets; but they are of the opinion that the improvements, as proposed, of Suffolk and Castle streets, especially, would justify the city in assessing a considerable portion of the expense upon the estates benefited thereby.
The widening of Castle street will necessitate the entire discontinuance of Paul Street, as it leaves a strip of land of only about seventeen feet in width between said streets, which is too narrow to be used for building purposes. The more valuable buildings on Paul Street can be saved by being moved forward to the new line of Castle Street, and those of less value may be either demolished or removed to another part of the territory.
The plan proposed by the committee for the improvement of the district may be stated briefly as follows:
1 To take all the territory described in chapter 277 of the acts of the year 1868, with the buildings and other fixtures thereon, in the manner authorized by said act.
2. To raise the streets and places on said territory to the grade shown on a plan made by the City Surveyor.
3. To lay out and widen certain streets and places on the district after the taking, as shown on a plan made by the City Surveyor.
4. To fill the cellars, back yards, and vacant lots to the grade of twelve feet above mean low water.
5. To raise and underpin such of the buildings on the district as it may be found expedient.