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Boston from Nahant

This is the sixth in a continuing series of informational updates about Northeastern’s proposed addition to the university’s Marine Science Center in Nahant.

September 24, 2019

Dear Neighbor,

On July 23, the Nahant Preservation Trust—together with 29 Nahant residents—informed Northeastern of its intent to sue the university.

To protect its interests, and to mitigate costly litigation, on August 9, Northeastern responded by asking the Massachusetts Land Court to issue a declaratory judgment clarifying the university’s rights with respect to its East Point property.

For nearly two years, Northeastern has sought to be transparent with Nahant residents and town officials about its proposed addition to the Marine Science Center. This has included providing regular project updates, listening to residents’ concerns, and revising the project’s proposed design to respond to and incorporate residents’ feedback.

Recently, NPT and others have made a number of claims about the project, as well as Northeastern’s stewardship of East Point. In light of these claims, the information below is intended to provide clarifying context for your consideration.

CLAIM: Northeastern dedicated a portion of its East Point property to the Town of Nahant and to the public. Northeastern needs a two-thirds vote of the state legislature to make any improvements to its property.

FACT: During the more than 50 years Northeastern has owned property at East Point, the university has never expressed any intent to donate any portion of its land to the public or to the Town of Nahant. Moreover, the university has neither legally transferred nor recorded a donation of any portion of its East Point property.

CLAIM: Northeastern has destroyed the pristine natural environment of East Point.

FACT: Prior to Northeastern’s presence, East Point was a military installation that had been completely stripped of vegetation, filled with asphalt and cement, and overrun by invasive species.

Since taking ownership of the property at the urging of the town in 1966, Northeastern has left the vast majority of its 20.42 acres at East Point undeveloped, resulting in the vegetation now on site. This includes Eastern Bluff and Dive Beach—areas east of Murphy Bunker bordering the ocean and contiguous to Lodge Park.

These areas will remain undeveloped after the addition to Murphy Bunker is constructed. Northeastern will also remove invasive species and conduct further restoration activities to enhance the health and functioning of East Point’s ecosystem.

CLAIM: The Marine Science Center addition will prevent Nahant residents’ access to Lodge Park.

FACT: By right—and custom—the public maintains an easement across Northeastern’s East Point property so that it may access
Lodge Park. This right-of-way will be maintained without disruption during and after construction of the Murphy Bunker addition so that the public can continue to access and enjoy Lodge Park.

 

Northeastern remains committed to moving the project forward and to providing a number of tangible community benefits to mitigate its impacts. The university will continue to work collaboratively with town officials on this effort. We look forward to presenting these commitments and sharing our final revised project design soon.

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