Remembering Mary Ellen

Mary Ellen Welch among other leaders who have worked over decades to make the East Boston Greenway a reality

When we lost Mary Ellen on March 7, 2019, we lost a dear friend and neighbor, a community leader, a wise advisor and passionate advocate for social and environmental justice, a devoted daughter of East Boston and a proud Bostonian. A school teacher for decades in East Boston, Mary Ellen was a born teacher, helping us all to learn, to advocate and to demonstrate for a more just world for everyone. How generous she was with her encouragement, how gentle she was with her correction! We all learned from her, and those lessons are now part of us.

Mary Ellen was one of a small group of East Boston residents who believed the trash filled, abandoned freight tracks could become a welcoming, safe Greenway that would remove years of contamination in the midst of the neighborhood. The Greenway would become a beautiful green space for children to ride their bikes, seniors to stroll and residents to make connections through and across the neighborhood. She was sure East Boston would rally to the Greenway. “Oh, yes, they will love it!” she replied about the farfetched idea in 1990. And she was so right.

Now, we invite you to join us to in continuing to enhance the Greenway along the path that Mary Ellen led. We also wish to create a special location along the Greenway by way of honoring Mary Ellen’s vision, her compassion and her faith that East Boston deserved this new parkland connecting East Boston’s harbor, beaches, parks and marshes. Please help us honor Mary Ellen by helping us continue her work and to create a beautiful special site for all to enjoy and remember. We appreciate gifts of all sizes.

Ways of contributing to the Friends of East Boston Greenway are available on the contribute page of the website:


BSLA Design Challenge Entries

The BSLA Design Challenge for the Gove Street Intersection of East Boston Greenway has resulted in some great entries. We, the Friends of East Boston Greenway, are curious about what you, the people of East Boston, think about the various elements in these entries. Let us know what you think by responding to this post or writing to We are not expecting your votes on the individual entries or any ranking. We are curious about which elements of the entries you are drawn to, and which ones you think are appropriate for the Greenway, which suit and/or enhance the uses of the Greenway you are familiar with and appreciate.

BSLA and Friends of East Boston Greenway would like to thank the participants (including landscape architects and designers) who generously gave of their time and talent to create these innovative and beautiful designs.

#10: (en)gauging the Water
Team: Keihly Moore, Thu Ngan Han
#20: East Boston Greenway + Gove Street Park
Team TL Studio Inc.: Tom Lee, Masha Hranjec-Johnson, Dennis Staton
#30: Fill The Gap
Team Stantec: Grace Ng, ASLA, RLA, Genevieve Shephard, Kevin Beuttell, RLA
#40: A New Front Yard
Team UMass LARP: Jessica Schoendorf
#50: The Living Room
Team CRJA-IBI: Andrea Fossa, Kristina Stevens, Siyu Xiao, Carl Frushour, Catherine Offenberg
#60: Streamway
Team: Qian Fischer
#70: Ties
Team Toole Design: Stephanie Weyer, Karen Fitzgerald, Lydia Hausle, William Huang
#80: Waiting to Launch
Team Kyle Zick: Rob Barella, Mike Doucette, Yong Jae Lee, Emily Sanchez, Tracy Hudak, Danielle D. Desilets, Kyle Zick
#90: History Through Water
Team CB2: Connor Byrne, Chris Brown

Mary Ellen Welch

East Boston’s Mary Ellen Welch in her home overlooking Boston Harbor

In her own words, here is a glimpse into the mettle Mary Ellen was made of. The interview was done as part of Media for Movement, a collaboration of Zumix and MIT CoLabs. — Kannan