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Saturday, October 20, 2001
The Patriot Ledger

QUINCY – Some critics said it couldn’t be done. Others said it shouldn’t.

Four years since truckers began hauling more than half the dirt excavated from the Big Dig in Boston to West Quincy, the men behind the Quarry Hills development now have tangible evidence that their plan to turn a vast dumping site into what they hope becomes a world-class golf course was no pipe dream.

The site is within a half mile of the Southeast Expressway, up Ricciutti Drive from the West Quincy exit. Past piles of slate-gray dirt the size of four-story buildings, the first seven holes of the Quarry Hills golf course are ready for play.

The lush greens on the Milton side of the course overlook the Blue Hills in one direction, the Boston skyline in another and the moonscape formed by mountains of Big Dig dirt in yet another. McCourt Construction workers driving huge earthmoving machines continue to haul tons of fill into place on what will become a 27-hole course stretching across the Quincy-Milton line.

Almost 99 percent of the dirt destined for West Quincy has been delivered – 12,611,869 tons. That leaves just under 150,000 tons to go, or about 7,425 more truck trips from Boston to Quincy.

The final delivery must be made by Dec. 31. Workers broke ground earlier this week on four new youth baseball fields and a field that meets the requirements to play an international soccer match but can be divided into four youth soccer-size fields.

Seven of the 27 golf course holes are done, five more are in the final stages of work and 10 more are being graded. That leaves five holes to be shaped, graded and seeded before the scheduled opening of the public course in the spring of 2003.

“People have no idea what’s going on up here until they see it,” Quarry Hills Associates partner Walter Hannon III said. “It really is remarkable when you think of what used to be here.”

Once home to three municipal landfills spread across more than 400 acres, Quarry Hills was known as Quincy’s dumping ground. Whether it was stolen cars tipped into one of the quarries that dot the West Quincy side of the site or oldappliances discarded illegally in the woods, the land was still used as a dump long after Quincy closed its landfill.

That all changed when a group of well-known developers brought their idea for a golf course made out of Big Dig dirt to city hall back in the mid-’90s. The plan addressed two problems. First, city leaders wanted to do something with the land but did not want taxpayers to pay for it. Second, the Central Artery project was groaning under the weight of millions of tons of dirt it had no place to put. Quincy was less than a 10-minute truck ride away from the Boston Harbor pier where the dirt is piled – a much cheaper alternative for the Big Dig than disposing of it elsewhere.

Using public land and public money – from the Big Dig project – private developers would solve both problems while positioning themselves to make millions once the golf course, a clubhouse and function hall opened for business.

Hannon, his father, former Quincy mayor Walter Hannon Jr., Charles Geilich, a retired landfill operator and Peter and William O’Connell, have repeatedly said that they will probably be in debt once the golf course is open for business. They still need to pay for and build the 400-seat function hall and clubhouse and myriad other details on the golf course, including eight miles of golf cart paths.

Through the agreement signed by the state, city and Quarry Hills Associates in 1997, the general contractor, McCourt Construction of Boston, is earning more than $70 million of the $100 million paid out by the Central Artery. Quarry Hills Associates will get $26.4 million and Quincy $2.8 million. McCourt is getting the bulk of the money because the company is doing the work to move the dirt into place.

For the next 50 years, both Quincy and Milton will earn a percentage of the profits from greens fees, the clubhouse and function hall. Mayor James A. Sheets’ counterparts throughout Massachusetts have congratulated him for brokering the deal to transform a huge brownfield into a public recreation area at no cost to the city. His political rival, William Phelan, sees it much differently.

Throughout the campaign between Sheets and Phelan to become the next mayor of Quincy, Phelan has hammered at Sheets for “letting $100 million worth of Big Dig tipping fees slip through the city’s hands to the developers.”

Phelan contends that the city will receive a pittance in revenue from the site in exchange for giving Quarry Hills Associates a 50-year lease for one dollar. Public works commissioner David Colton, the city’s point man on the project, calls that a perfect example of what hindsight can do.

“What’s forgotten in all that is that at the very beginning of this, it was very risky.

We’re talking about moving more than 12 million tons of dirt and making a facility on top of three landfills surrounded by the Blue Hills Reservation, wetlands and archeological sites. An incredible number of things could have gone wrong. The city needed the developers to take that risk, not the taxpayers,” he said.

Criticism of the project extends beyond the political realm. Local environmentalists have battled the developers and the state agency supposed to ensure that environmental damage is not done, from day one.

Thomas Palmer of Milton, the director of Friends of the Blue Hills, said the unusually friendly relationship between the state Department of Environmental Protection and developers on Quarry Hills has proven detrimental to the land.

Palmer estimated that more than 40 acres of wetlands have been damaged by runoff from the mounds of clay stockpiled at Quarry Hills.

“In my opinion, the DEP has been captured by the Central Artery project. That is what is driving this, not concern for the environment but getting rid of the dirt. The DEP has behaved as if its role is not to protect natural resources but to protect the project from anyone who criticizes it,” he said.

But William O’Connell, one of the developers, counters that few projects have undergone the scrutiny Quarry Hills has over the past several years.

“We are creating wetlands up here. I hope people will look at this when it is finished and focus on that rather than focusing on temporary problems that we are fixing,” he said.


Monday, January 1, 2001
The Boston Globe
By Thomas C. Palmer Jr.

They’re paying for it, they deserved a close-up look, and yesterday they got it.

On the last day of 2000, after nine years of Big Dig construction, thousands of taxpayers, from Massachusetts and elsewhere, took a walking tour of the largest highway construction project in the nation. “I’m impressed. If anything it’s more than I expected,” said David Jacobs, who set up his tripod and photographed the colorful construction tableau on a three-quarter-mile underground route.

“Everybody’s read everything,” said Jacobs, who is from Sharon but had stayed overnight Saturday in Boston after a party, expecting a snowstorm. “But to stand in the middle of what’s going to be an underground 10-lane highway is really something.”

It was a big undertaking, even for a megaproject, to get thousands of people safely in and out of a major construction site. But months of military-style planning paid off. The weather cooperated – sunny and cold, but dry – and crowds were steady but not overwhelming during the 11 a.m.-5 p.m. window.

A maze of fences set up to hold long queues at the Fulton Street entrance ramp (which will become an exit ramp for cars in November 2002) was barely used most of the day.

An estimated 20,000 to 25,000 people took the 15- to 30-minute walk-through, with the line at its longest at 4 p.m. Visitors were given fact sheets on the $14 billion-plus highway, tunnel, and bridge undertaking, as they entered a section being built by McCourt Construction Co. The first 12,000 received Big Dig bookmarks.

“We took the train in specifically for this,” said Steve Slater of Acton, carrying 3-year-old Eric, and trailing the rest of the family. “This is really impressive. I explained that in a couple of years we’ll be driving through. I want them to remember what it’s like to walk through.”

Among those getting the most pleasure out of the tour was a person wearing an orange vest. One of about 70 volunteers from the Big Dig, John Rich, who works on the “finishing” contract, was the one who suggested a New Year’s Eve public tour.

He paused from an explanation of the suction machine that lifts 3,000-pound ceiling sections into place, and recalled the moment two years ago when hethought of throwing a big party for the public. Rich was working under Atlantic Avenue in the future northbound lanes of I-93.

He and other workers were awaiting some waterproofing material as they laid down the “mud mat,” or base, of the roadway.

A crane lifted one of the huge concrete deck panels that form the temporary Atlantic Avenue surface overhead. “A shaft of light comes in, we’re all standing in it,” he recalled.

“Everybody was in awe,” he said. It was one of those scenes you remember all your life. Stunning.”

A big fan of First Night, Rich wrote out a proposal and submitted it to Turnpike chairman Andrew Natsios last May, just at the right time. Financial and political problems had put morale at a low point. Natsios jumped at the idea, and the planning began.

If many of the headlines about the project have highlighted cost runovers and other problems, those seemed forgotten yesterday.

“I think we have a happy crowd,” said Martin Charney, a longtime project employee. “The comments are very positive.”

Alison Arnstein of Brookline emerged from the tour at 3 p.m. with her husband, Ted, 2-year-old Jacob, and 5-month-old Sophie. She said the project probably isn’t worth $14 billion.

Still, “It’s very cool,” she said. “It’s good to see where all the money is going.” Like many others, the Arnsteins came to the city yesterday just for the Big Dig tour.

Nancy Alloway of Lexington peered up from the underground lanes through an opening near Commercial Street, where the rusting old green Central Artery is temporarily supported over its future replacement.

“Is that I-93 up there?” she asked, incredulously. “Are there cars up there?” Some visitors moved along the roped-off path; others stopped to study the machinery or inquire of Big Dig staff.

“No clue,” laughed one project lawyer, when asked what a large yellow piece of equipment is for. But Cynthia McCarthy, a resident construction engineer, said: “It’s a lift. You might call it a person lift. Nowadays we don’t call it a man lift.”Bob Bliss, Turnpike spokesman, said yesterday was a morale-booster. “It’s a chance for them to show off their work publicly.”

“I love this. Been watching this for five years,” said Kate Bielaczyc, a North End neighbor of the sometimes noisy Big Dig.

Michael Lewis, recently bumped from acting project director up to permanent, wasn’t working, but he came for the tour. Employees, including top project managers, welcomed the crowds.

“Ho, ho, ho,” said a Santa Claus who looked suspiciously like Big Dig budget director William Edwards, greeting arriving visitors under the old Artery.

Down in the tunnel, filmmaker Kaluska Poventud, formerly with NBC, did interviews on videotape. “There’s never been an over-the-counter documentary – something in stores for people to buy,” she said. “We’ve not see the beautiful photography of this, with the grandeur.”

Big Dig 2001 calendars went for $10 each from a private entrepreneur on the street.

David and Stephi Schnirman of West Orange, N.J., were visiting friends in Nahant. “We’ve heard of the Big Dig before,” David Schnirman said.

He thought a tunnel under New York City would be a good idea and was impressed by Boston’s big tunnel. “It’s an amazing endeavor,” Schnirman said.


450-acre project to include residential, recreational,restaurant and retail space.

Quincy, Mass., October 11, 2000 – Shaping is expected to begin today on the Granite Links, a 27-hole golf course that is part of the Quarry Hills mixed-use development. Since 1997 McCourt Construction has received up to 1,300 truckloads per day of fill to mold and expand the site. The course has been designed by John Sanford and will be one of the premier daily fee courses in the country when it opens in 2002.

The Quarry Hills project will cap three landfills with over 13 million tons of Big Dig dirt to create a golf course, public ball fields, town homes, luxury apartments, as well as retail and restaurant space. To date project partner and lead contractor McCourt Construction has taken over 10 million tons of fill from the State.

About McCourt
McCourt Construction is a comprehensive general contractor that was founded in 1893. The company has worked extensively in both the public and private sectors, developing an expertise in infrastructure projects, real estate development, site work, landscaping, utilities, and finish work. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, McCourt has taken on projects from California to London, from Canada to the Caribbean.


Saturday, June 17, 2000
The Patriot Ledger
By William Flynn

The Quarry Hills golf course project is the largest single land project ever attempted in Quincy or Milton, covering 446 acres of the two communities. The amount of dirt and cash being pumped in is mind-boggling.

By the time the first golfer tees off in the summer of 2002, nearly 11.5 million tons of Big Dig dirt (that’s 600,000 truckloads) will have been dumped. And the Massachusetts Highway Department will have paid out about $ 90 million to the city of Quincy. The city, in turn, will have passed most of this money along to the developer (Quarry Hills Associates) and the contractor (McCourt Construction).

With numbers like that it’s natural for taxpayers to wonder whether their money is being wisely spent. Will the 27-hole golf course benefit Quincy and Milton residents for generations or will the project turn out to be great boondoggle? So far, Quarry Hills seems to be meeting or exceeding the vision of the developers.

Initially, the project was for an 18-hole course, but now it will be 27 holes. Initially, only a clubhouse was in the plans, but now a 400-person function hall will also be built. Admittedly, all this means more profits for the developers who are leasing the public land.

But the entire project will be owned by the city in 50 years. Few reading this now will be around for that event, but it will be a boon to residents of the city at midcentury. And Quarry Hills will pay Quincy and Milton a percentage of the course’s revenue each year until the ownership change.

Last Saturday, Patriot Ledger reporters Elizabeth Crowley and Tom Walsh did a thorough job in following the project’s trail of dirt and money. They described a sophisticated system to verify the delivery of truckloads of dirt (which is needed to trigger cash payments) and noted how money passes from the state to the city and into the developer’s hands. The key role of the state Department of Environmental Protection in facilitating the project, including work on the fastest off-ramp construction in federal highway history, was also described.

Not included in the reporting project (because of space considerations) was the work of Quincy DPW Director David Colton in getting a good deal for the city for the rights to fill Swingle’s Quarry.The state highway department was nearly desperate to find a place to deposit hundreds of thousands of tons of excess slurry from the Big Dig. It investigated several options but chose the quarry as the best possibility.

But before the dumping could begin, Colton insisted that the city be paid for those privileges and negotiated a good deal of $ 1 a ton. That amounted to $ 541,660 in unexpected cash for the city’s coffers. That, added to money the city was already getting from the 1984 contract with J.F. White Construction, has earned the city more than $ 800,000.

Not everyone believes Quarry Hills is the best use of the land. But no one has ever been able to offer a plan to reclaim the landfills and scrub land that made any sense, either economically or environmentally. The serendipity of the Big Dig project and its boundless need to get rid of excavated dirt combined with the vision of the Quarry Hills developers made this golf course project possible.

With the ever-growing popularity of golf combined with the splendid views and convenient location, some would argue that not making money at Quarry Hills would be hard to do. But this is a highly complex project requiring the cooperation of several state agencies, the developer, the contractor and a fleet of truckers, along with Quincy and Milton.

The uncertainty and sheer audacity of the project could have prompted several state agencies to reject it and several million dollars that were already invested would have been lost.

In fact, as the Patriot Ledger report pointed out, one DEP official was surprised to find out that the project was still alive. One official called it the project with nine lives.

The final truckload has not been dumped and the final audit has not been completed, but Quarry Hills will likely turn out to be a major asset for Quincy and Milton for an entire century.


The project will also allow the Highway Department to dispose of 825,000 tons of Big Dig dirt.

Quincy, Mass., July 12, 2000 – As reported in yesterday’s Patriot Ledger, the Massachusetts Highway Department has chosen McCourt Construction and the Quarry Hills Associates development team to create a new park at the site of Granite Rail Quarry in Quincy. The state will pay $16 per ton for disposal of Big Dig dirt. The payments will be split between McCourt Construction, Quarry Hills Associates, the City of Quincy, and the Metropolitan District Commission.

McCourt expects to begin draining the water-filled quarry by early August, and to begin dumping dirt in September. The project will create a park in the place of an dangerous swimming hole that has been the scene of several drowning deaths in recent years. The finished park will include 40- to 50-foot-high rock climbing walls, a grassy expanse atop the quarry cap, and a new parking lot.

About McCourt
McCourt Construction is a comprehensive general contractor that was founded in 1893. The company has worked extensively in both the public and private sectors, developing an expertise in infrastructure projects, real estate development, site work, landscaping, utilities, and finish work. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, McCourt has taken on projects from California to London, from Canada to the Caribbean.


The Boston Society of Landscape Architects joins the Boston Preservation Alliance in honoring the historic park.

Boston, Mass., June 1, 1998 – The Boston Society of Landscape Architects presented City Square Park with a Merit Award at its annual celebration gala last month. The McCourt Construction-built park received the award from a jury composed of engineers, architects and academics. This marks the park’s second award since it was rededicated – last summer the Boston Preservation Alliance presented the park with its Preservation Achievement Award.

City Square Park was designed by the Halvorson Company and completed by McCourt Construction in 1997. The project’s scope included detailed stone work, extensive landscaping, fountain installation, as well as road and utility reconfiguration. In addition, McCourt was responsible for installing several pieces of David Philips award-winning artwork and conducting archaeological excavation on the historically significant site.

About City Square Park
City Square has been a focal point of Charlestown since it was first designed in 1626. It was from this plaza (then called “Market Square”) that Paul Revere set off on his famous ride in 1775. Later that same year, the square was razed to the ground by British cannon fire. Unfortunately, the park fell into disrepair in the second half of the twentieth century as it was surrounded by elevated transit lines, highway viaducts, parking lots, and a traffic rotary. In 1997 the park was rededicated and today it stands as a mini-oasis of green lawns decoratively landscaped with more than 70 varieties of trees, shrubs and flowers, and gracefully designed with gas lamps, artwork and a central fountain.

About McCourt
McCourt Construction is a comprehensive general contractor that was founded in 1893. The company has worked extensively in both the public and private sectors, developing an expertise in infrastructure projects, real estate development, site work, landscaping, utilities, and finish work. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, McCourt has taken on projects from California to London, from Canada to the Caribbean.


Monday, May 11, 1998
The Patriot Ledger
By Matthew Casey

QUINCY — Despite a steady morning rain, several hundred volunteers turned out for Saturday’s kickoff of the 9th annual Cleaner Greener Quincy campaign.

Students and members of local trade unions joined city officials and other residents for the three-hour cleanup, which collected tons of debris from dozens of sites such as Faxon Park in South Quincy, North Quincy High School, the Collins Rest-a-While Playground on the Southern Artery, and Daniel Gilbert Park in Squantum.

“It’s a really, really good cause,” North Quincy High student Shirley Kwok said, as she helped plant shrubs around her school. “It’s kind of sticky and wet, but we got a lot done.”

The cleanup was the start of a season of programs that will include a citysponsored yard care conference and a Neat Neighbors contest.

Cleaner Greener was begun in 1990 as a way to increase citizen involvement in the city’s environmental programs. Last year volunteers and city crews removed more than 350 tons of trash, abandoned vehicles and other debris from parks, playgrounds, beaches and open areas.

On Saturday laborers, equipment operators and other union workers from McCourt Construction Co. of Boston landscaped trails and roads in Faxon Park, “Quincy is a strong union town, and we want to show that the union cares about keeping Quincy clean,” said Edgar Murphy of Teamsters Local 371.

Across town in Squantum, meanwhile, dozens of of residents picked up litter and helped plant bushes and flowers in Daniel Gilbert Park.

“We want it to look nice,” said Jean Mackey, the leader of a volunteer team. “It’s a gateway to Squantum.”

Mayor James Sheets praised the volunteers at an afternoon appreciation cookout the city held at the Richard J. Koch Family Recreation Complex.

“Every year it gets bigger and better,” Sheets said. “It’s become an institution in and of itself. Having a clean city makes people feel good, and self-esteem is very important for a city.” The next Cleaner Greener program will be the May 30 Yard Care Conference, a free event sponsored by the city park department. Speakers will discuss lawn and garden issues.The conference will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Koch complex at 100 Southern Artery, across from Adams Field. Topics will include home composting, proper tree care and how to maintain a beautiful, affordable lawn.

The park department will sponsor a “Neat Neighbors” contest again this year, awarding prizes to residents who keep their property cleaned up and attractive year round.

For information on all Cleaner Greener programs, call the park department at 376-1251.


Thursday, December 4, 1997
The Patriot Ledger
By Lane Lambert

QUINCY — After a lightning-fast, around-the-clock 6 1/2 weeks of construction, a new Southeast Expressway ramp for trucks hauling Big Dig fill to a West Quincy golf course site opened to traffic today. A highway project like this usually takes seven years from design to completion, contractor Richard McCourt said. “This is definitely the fastest project I’ve ever been involved in,” he added.

The 1,500-foot southbound ramp, located a quarter-mile north of the Furnace Brook Parkway exit, will allow Big Dig contractors to haul as many as 800 loads of dirt a day to the former city dump for the next couple of years without creating backups in regular traffic.

However, developers and city officials say the volume probably won’t reach more than 500 trucks a day. About 200 trucks have been using the Furnace Brook Parkway exit during ramp construction. The ramp also will be open to other local traffic.

McCourt’s crews worked around the clock, six days a week, through rain, an early snowfall, and the lasting of 12,000 cubic yards of rock in the ramp’s path.

The schedule was hastened because it was a private job for Quarry Hills Associates developers, McCourt said. As a result, the project didn’t require the usual time-consuming reviews and approvals that delay regular state road work.

But the biggest help was the Big Dig itself. With millions of yards of dirt to dispose of, state officials were ready to do anything they could to make sure all that fill could be moved as soon as possible. Charles Geilich of Quarry Hills praised the speed of work of the McCourt Construction Co. of Boston. “I’m sure this has never been done before,” he said.

McCourt agreed, saying, “The average time for a highway project from design to completion is seven years, and we did it in 10 weeks.”

With the ramp now open, McCourt will spend another month finishing a related realignment of Willard Street, which now merges with the Furnace Brook rotary at the Ricciuti Drive intersection.

State and local officials joined the Quarry Hills Associates developers for a ceremony today at the intersection of the ramp and Ricciuti Drive, which the trucks will follow to the former city dump. The Quarry Hills partnership announced its winning bid Oct. 1 to take as much as 7 million cubic yards of fill from the Central Artery project. Ramp construction began a couple of weeks later.

The $ 63 million Quarry Hills project will include an 18-hole, privately run golf course and at least six municipal soccer and baseball fields.

The total cost includes $ 54 million for construction of the golf course and sports fields, $ 2 million for the ramp, $ 1 million to widen and repave Ricciuti Drive and $ 6 million in start-up money for Quarry Hills Associates.

The sports fields, being built on Metropolitan District Commission land, are expected to be ready by the summer of 1999. The golf course won’t open until 2002.

Dorchester Heights Monument Reconstruction

Boston, MA

The Dorchester Heights Monument in South Boston is a National Historic Park commemorating the location from which American Revolutionaries drove the British from Boston. Dorchester Heights is one of the 9 sites which make up the Boston National Historical Park and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The National Park Service chose McCourt Construction to rebuild this park and restore its iconic marble tower. McCourt refurbished the entire monument from interior and exterior and installed a new mechanical system. In addition, the cast-in-place retaining walls supporting the entire park were reconstructed. There was also extensive landscape and hardscape improvements throughout the park. Perhaps most importantly, McCourt was tasked with excavating a Revolutionary War fort under the direction of archaeologists.

The steep topography, urban location, and the park’s status as a National Register of Historic Places posed unique challenges to this project. McCourt’s attention to detail and hard work paid off as the project earned the 1999 Architectural Accessibility Achievement Award from the National Park Service

Project Overview
Owner: National Park Service
Final Value: $3,200,000
Completion Date: Nov, 1997

Unique Project Features
• Renovate a colonial-era historic monument
• Working directly next to one of Boston’s largest public high schools
• Park construction in an urban environment
• Working on a challenging topography
• Assisting archaeologist uncoving a 17th century Revolutionary Fort

Project Awards and Accolades
• 1999 Architectural Accessibility Acheivement Award – National Park Service
• Monument is located on the National Register of Historic Places


Historic park represents the first new open space created by the Big Dig.

Charlestown, Mass., June 24, 1997 – The Boston Preservation Alliance honored City Square Park during their annual awards program last week. As reported in the Boston Herald, the BPA recognized general contractor McCourt Construction, landscape architect The Halvorson Co., artist David Phillips, and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Management for creating a park that “enhances Boston’s built environment.”

The park is located at the site of Charlestown’s City Square – first designed in 1629. It incorporates custom-built ornamental fence, extensive granite and brickwork, and award-winning sculptures, all spread throughout expansive green space decorated with more than 70 separate species of trees, shrubs, perennial flowers, groundcovers and grasses. The Park even features the foundation of a seventeenth century tavern destroyed by the British during the revolutionary war.

The Boston Preservation Alliance Awards are bestowed annually to honor outstanding achievements in historic preservation and compatible new construction in Boston. The other projects recognized this year were, the Exchange Conference Center at the Boston Fish Pier, the Boston Historic Markers Program, the restoration of the Colonial Theater, and Frog Pond at the Boston Common.

About McCourt
McCourt Construction is a comprehensive general contractor that was founded in 1893. The company has worked extensively in both the public and private sectors, developing an expertise in infrastructure projects, real estate development, site work, landscaping, utilities, and finish work. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, McCourt has taken on projects from California to London, from Canada to the Caribbean.


Park commemorates Washington’s first victory of the Revolutionary War.

Boston, Mass., June 23, 1997 – The Dorchester Heights Memorial at Thomas Park was re-dedicated last Saturday, June 21st. The park recently underwent a $4.8 million facelift by McCourt Construction under the watchful eye of the National Park Service. McCourt’s scope of work included installing new utilities, building new retaining walls, planting new vegetation, and rehabbing the iconic white marble tower at the summit of the park. The project was especially complicated given the fact that the park abuts the busy South Boston High School and is built over an 18th Century fort.

The Dorchester Heights Monument was first completed in 1902. It was designed by Boston architects Peabody and Stearns to commemorate General George Washington’s first victory in the American Revolution. Washington fortified Dorchester Heights with cannons and was able to drive the British out of Boston on March 17, 1776 – ending an 11-month siege of the city. To this day residents of Massachusetts celebrate March 17th as Evacuation Day.

About McCourt
McCourt Construction is a comprehensive general contractor that was founded in 1893. The company has worked extensively in both the public and private sectors, developing an expertise in infrastructure projects, real estate development, site work, landscaping, utilities, and finish work. Based in Boston, Massachusetts, McCourt has taken on projects from California to London, from Canada to the Caribbean.

City Square Park

Charlestown, MA

The City Square Park project created the first open space as a result of the Central Artery/Tunnel Project. This Project restored historic City Square in the Charlestown neighborhood of Boston to its traditional use as an active, pedestrian-friendly public space. Work included building a large Granite water fountain, installation of several statues/monuments, and construction of extensive hardscape. Site improvements also included granite piers, decorative wrought iron fence, outdoor furniture, brick sidewalks, granite seat walls and planters. Landscaping included “Pine & Swallow” soil specifications and extensive mature tree plantings.

Some of the historic construction undertaken as part of this project included the numbering , removal, restoration and resetting of the stones making up the post holes of John Winthrop’s Great House (c. 1629). McCourt also numbered , removed, restored and reset the foundation of the Three Cranes Tavern (c. 1635) from which Paul Revere began his famous ride.

This park was built at the request of a vocal and active community in Charlestown and is one of the most historically relevant parks in Boston. The Freedom Trail passes through this park allowing tourists to see the location of the Great House and the start of Paul Revere’s Ride. There are several other significant historical landmarks associated with this park. Today the park is maintained in part by the generosity of the non-profit Friends of City Square Park “to ensure the proper maintenance, preservation, beautification, programming, and care of City Square Park and its vicinity, and to encourage an awareness of its history.”

Project Overview
Owner: MassDOT
Final Value: $3,400,000
Completion Date: March, 1997

Unique Project Features
• Protecting and restoring historic fixtures
• Unique public art and fountains
• Extensive community involvement
• Archaelogical excavation and preservation of historic structures
• Working atop an active highway tunnel

Project Awards and Accolades
• 1998 Merit Award – Boston Society for Landscape Architects
• 1998 Preservation Acheivement Award – Boston Preservation Alliance
• “The site’s sophisticated design elements, gas lights, meandering paths and grassy areas combine to interpret the park’s historic past in a modern fashion.” Friends of City Square Park


Sunday, September 28, 1986
The Boston Globe
By Andrew J. Dabilis

From Charlestown’s gutted Main Street, a graveyard for mufflers, to rutty Route 6 in Fall River and bumpy Route 2 in the Berkshires, highway contractors say large portions of Massachusetts’ 30,000 miles of road are in poor condition.

While many roads are in adequate shape, some highways are battered from heavy traffic, and side streets can be found that are split open from the force of water and salt in their seams. “They are as bad as they have ever been,” said Richard McCourt, a highway builder who is also chairman of the Board of Construction Industries of Massachusetts, made up of contractors who do most of the roadwork in the state.

While New England’s vicious weather cycle — sizzling heat in summer alternating with winter’s deep freeze — and years of grinding auto and truck traffic have taken their toll, they’re not the main problem, according to McCourt.

He pointed instead at what he said is the failure of state and local governments to overcome political and union squabbles, and bureaucratic inertia to push through badly needed repairs.

“There’s been no consistent maintenance program,” said McCourt. “The roads get worse every year. We fall farther and farther behind.”

Robert Tierney, commissioner of the state Department of Public Works, said the 10 percent of highway miles in the state that are under his agency’s control “are in very good shape. I don’t believe you can find a pothole.” He agreed, however, that many city and town roads are badly maintained. He said his department is an easy scapegoat and is often blamed for local road problems.

Contractors agree that local roads are in worse shape, but they said state roads have problems, too.

On a recent tour of both state and local roads in eastern Massachusetts, McCourt pointed out numerous areas where roads had potholes, cracks or a roller-coaster effect that had caused many vehicles to leave scrapes from their bottoms on the hot top. “Look at this road,” he said, pointing at cracks and a wavy surface on Newport Road in Quincy. “Why does it have to be like this?”

McCourt put most of the blame on Gov. Dukakis for not putting sufficient emphasis on highway repair and on reform of the DPW. The agency has a work force whose average age is 57. It is trying to rebuild itself from budget cuts that drove out most of the young engineers three years ago. [CLARIFICATION: Also,
a spokesman for state Transporation Secretary Frederick Salvucci said budget cuts that reduced staffing at the state Department of Public Works were initiated by former Gov. Edward J. King, although the effects reached into the Dukakis administration.]

Money is not the problem, most observers agree. State funds distributed to cities and towns for road repair under the Chapter 90 highway program have increased from $12 million in 1983 to $30 million this year, according to state Secretary of Transportation and Construction Frederick Salvucci. But he said results will not show for a few years because of the lead time required for these projects. It costs $100 per foot to repair roads in Massachusetts, and some can cost up to $2.5 million per mile.ld not get through the Legislature.

The DPW provides design and environmental review for most road repair and construction projects in the state, including most local roads. The process, said Tierney, is arduous. “I’d have to be an idiot to say I’m satisfied,” he said.

A 1982 survey done for Construction Industries of Massachusetts by the industry-backed Road Information Project in Washington said that nearly 22,000 road miles in the state were in “fair” to “very poor” condition and that repairs would cost about $5 billion. A year later, the Legislature approved a major highway bond issue that promised to substantially beef up the DPW’s work force. The DPW won authority to hire 200 junior engineers without going through the civil service system and was allowed to begin new hiring that has increased its staff from 2,700 in 1983 to 3,500 this year.

But highway contractors say that it still takes months for the DPW to review and approve state and local road design contracts and that the agency is bogged down by union regulations and the lack of qualified staff.

McCourt, while acknowledging that his members would benefit from the lucrative highway contracts, said nonetheless that “the governor has to direct his people as to what’s a priority, and in this administration, roads are not a priority. He’s too convinced mass transit will solve the problem.”

Salvucci said that “physically the roads are reasonably good. The towns have a problem. There is a capacity problem to spend money effectively.”

House Minority Leader William G. Robinson (R-Melrose), a candidate for state auditor, says DPW progress in processing paperwork on local roads and repairing state roads has been so slow that Massachusetts will have to return $74 million in unspent federal highway funds. [CLARIFICATION: Contrary to a legislator’s complaint quoted in the Sunday Globe’s Metro/Region section, $74 million in highway funds that Massachusetts must return to the federal government was not for routine highway repairs. Rather, the money was earmarked for Boston’s third harbor tunnel and central artery projects.] The federal government subsidizes state and local highway construction projects from between 75 to 90 percent.

“All across the state, bridges and roads are disintegrating not because of a lack of funds, but because the Dukakis administration has missed the deadline for spending available funds for these repairs,” Robinson said. DPW officials said the money technically will revert to the federal government but will still be available to the state later.

The Massachusetts branch of the American Automobile Association, long an agitator over traffic and road problems, stated in a recent issue of its magazine that the DPW had promised to break last year’s record of advertising bids for $268 million worth of work, but had awarded contracts for less than $73 million
by mid-July.

Tierney said that’s because several expensive projects weren’t scheduled for approval until this fall. He said the department may still hit the $300 million mark in contracts that he had predicted in January. A major reason for the state’s statistically poor performance, said Salvucci, is the delay in waiting for approval for a third harbor tunnel between Boston and Logan Airport and for depressing the Central Artery. The two projects would cost at least $2 billion.

Last New Year’s Eve, the Legislature approved a $1.96 billion highway bond issue, including federal funds. About $800 million is for highway and bridge work, 400 million each for 1986 and 1987. The House chairman of the Legislature’s Transportation Committee, Rep. Stephen J. Karol (D-Attleboro), said that Tierney has tried hard to speed work at the DPW but that the agency is antiquated.

“The DPW and its organizational structure hasn’t changed appreciably in 50 years. It can’t get out enough work to meet the needs. We shouldn’t ever do another bond issue unless we can do a major reorganization of the DPW. The single most critical issue is the lack of engineering capacity in the DPW,” Karol said.

“You have an institutional tradition of mediocrity. There are many dedicated people there, but there are some people called engineers because they took a mechanical drawing course in high school,” Karol said. “There are a lot of people down there on cruise control looking for retirement, and the job isn’t getting done.


Wednesday, June 21, 1995
The Boston Globe
By Thomas C. Palmer Jr.

A Superior Court judge yesterday ordered the Massachusetts Highway Department to award a Big Dig contract to the lowest bidder despite a technicality that made the company ineligible in state officials’ eyes. Acting rapidly to avoid construction delays, and following a one-day trial last week, Judge Vieri Volterra stopped state officials from giving the contract for relocation of utilities downtown to Modern Continental Co. Modern, which came in fifth in the bidding, was the only company bidding that had registered with the state as being “prequalified” for the work.

Volterra ordered the department to award the contract to McCourt Construction Co., which had proposed to do the work for $12.4 million, or $1.2 million less than Modern Continental.

Neither McCourt nor the five other bidders that challenged the state’s award to Modern Continental had filed the proper prequalification form with the state, establishing that they have the ability to do the work.

The judge ruled that all the contractors were in fact qualified to do the work, and he criticized the state for not sufficiently publicizing a change in procedures that required such prequalification. State officials say they were trying to streamline the bidding process, but the judge said they forgot to make that clear to the

To give the contract to Modern “would elevate form over substance” in state bidding procedures, Volterra wrote in an nine-page decision. Denying the contract to McCourt, the lowest bidder, would have been “against the public interest.”

“The judge did something the highway department couldn’t do, in essence set aside the prequalification” requirement, said Peter M. Zuk, director of the $8 billion Central Artery/Third Harbor Tunnel project. “The judge’s decision will result in a $1.2 million saving for the taxpayer, and that is good news.”

Although Volterra noted that only Modern Continental among the eight bidding companies was not “asleep at the switch” on the procedural change that the department had made, he ruled that was not sufficient reason to give Modern the contract. Volterra called it a “Kafkaesque situation” when department officials felt
they were prevented by law from awarding the contract to a qualified low bidder. “That this situation is created by a public agency of the commonwealth which is expending sorely needed and scarce state and federal funds would naturally cause great alarm to any responsible observer,” he said.

“Clearly, it is inappropriate to squander another million and a quarter dollars by blindly insisting on meeting a statutory mandate that was unnecessary in the first place,” he said.


Sunday, May 13, 1984
The Boston Globe
By Viola Osgood

The plea for help went out on two new fronts last week – a call to aid city officials in the cleanup of Boston. Yesterday morning at 7 o’clock, the call was answered by almost 200 construction workers from the John McCourt Co. and Local 223 of the Laborers International Union of North America.

The volunteers met in Franklin Park before moving out into sections of Roxbury and North Dorchester, where they would remove hundreds of tons of rodent-infested garbage and rubble from 48 vacant lots.

“I couldn’t be more pleased at the turnout,” said Richard McCourt, one of the organizers. “My family has been earning its living in Boston for four generations and the cleanup is one little way for us to express our gratitude.”

Pat Walsh, business manager for Local 233, called on other trade and craft unions to make a similar commitment: “We all owe something to the city. This cleanup is one of the best programs we could have and everyone should pitch in.”

The construction workers’ effort, initiated by McCourt and Walsh, is part of Mayor Raymond L. Flynn’s spring cleanup campaign. This was the fourth weekend cleanup, but it was the first time a construction firm or union had actively participated.

The workers gave their time and energy. The McCourt Co. donated 8 dump trucks, 16 front end loaders and 12 pickup trucks. McCourt said that amount of manpower and equipment costs $5100 an hour.

While the construction crews took on the heavier tasks, neighborhood volunteers in Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, South Boston and Hyde Park performed other chores. City work crews were there to supply residents with equipment and to haul away trash.

Mamie Goforth of Dorchester, a laborer for the McCourt Co., said she was glad to be working on a project that was good for the city and for her own neighborhood in particular.

Steve Frick of Malden, an assistant project manager for McCourt, commented: “It’s a good idea. You have a group effort of management, labor and the city all working together to clean up Boston. I don’t live in Boston, but I work here. I have to look at it everyday, so I think I should help clean it.”

In midmorning, Flynn stood near Erie and Greenwood streets in Dorchester and watched as a construction crew used six front end loaders and dozens of rakes to clear two lots that were covered with mounds of debris from illegal dumping. Flynn praised the labor/management effort from McCourt and Local 223. He said
the city can’t afford to pay for the kind of heavy work that was being done on the lots.

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Flynn said. “This shows a commitment to the people in this neighborhood and to the people in the city. Projects like this improve the quality of life. This is what can happen when there is partnership between the public and private sectors. It’s a good day for Boston.”

Asked how he plans to make sure the lots won’t be used as dumping grounds in the future, Flynn said he plans to push for strict enforcement of existing laws and to work for the passage of even tougher statutes.

A 75-year-old retired executive secretary of Local 233 came to show support for the effort.

“I don’t want my name in the paper,” he said, “but I just want to say what a good project this is in so many ways. You have blacks and whites, men and women working together side by side to clean up the neighborhoods. And that alone has to be a good thing for the city.