Quincy, Massachusetts’ creative approach to infrastructure investment underpins a billion-dollar urban revitalization vision. Major upgrades to water, wastewater, and stormwater systems and compelling new public spaces create multiple benefits and spur significant private investment in the historic city’s downtown.
Birthplace to first signatory of the Declaration of Independence, John Hancock, and former American Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams, Quincy is a historic city south of Boston. When it set out to reimagine its historic downtown and capitalize on its regional link to Boston, it knew that a multi-pronged approach was needed. Redevelopment efforts had been hampered by problems with drainage, water and wastewater utilities, and traffic, leaving underutilized land within the city’s urban center. Setting an ambitious vision that included community-centered placemaking, diversifying uses and new parks focusing on the city’s history, Quincy began working with Woodard & Curran on infrastructure improvements specifically designed to create redevelopment opportunities and foster renewed placemaking for residents and visitors.
To begin the 15-year process that would create a more vibrant community, Quincy started with infrastructure that is often overlooked. Town Brook, an important drainage channel running under and through downtown was crumbling and hampering efforts to redevelop potentially valuable parcels and needed to be reengineered. By realigning the waterway and daylighting several buried sections, Quincy and Woodard & Curran improved the city’s resilience to flooding, protected valuable fish spawning habitat, and enhanced stormwater management. This was achieved through a unique public-private partnership with a developer who paid for the upgrades as part of a new mixed-use building on an adjacent site.
Quincy’s vision could not be achieved all at once, nor could it afford to tackle all its goals simultaneously. So it developed a funding and financing approach that included matching grants to launch projects, tax financing that leveraged investment from private developers, and favorable bond issues. This allowed it to realize the benefits of the first stages of renewal in terms of new revenue and job creation while planning subsequent phases. Ultimately, Quincy will expand its tax base, welcome new businesses to downtown, and create a thriving urban community along a vital public transportation corridor.
Quincy is justifiably proud of its history and centered that in its placemaking and plans for new public spaces. The first of these new spaces was Hancock Adams Common. With sculptures, waterscapes, gardens, paths, and benches scattered throughout, the Common is a welcoming space for residents and visitors to enjoy. To this beautiful centerpiece, Quincy has added General’s Park and a series of intimate pocket parks and uniform benches and street plantings. Together these spaces complement the new development and create a walkable, revitalized downtown that serves the entire community.