The Town Brook winds through the downtown area, gradually being covered by buildings, parking lots, and roads. A culvert that was added section by section from the 1890s to the 1970s directs the brook beneath the city. There are eleven types of conduit that comprise the culvert at this time.
The downtown revitalization project will raze the buildings and tear up the parking lots that cover the brook today, providing an unprecedented opportunity to address each of the stream’s issues in one single effort, according to StreetWorks LLC’s public meeting presentation from last spring. The City is concerned about the structural integrity of the culvert, the condition of the pipes that drain into the stream, the presence of illicit sewage pipes, buildings that are exposed above the brook, and the rainbow smelt population that swim there to spawn, among other things. Rerouting the brook would allow the City to replace the culverts, better manage what drains into the water, improve its condition as a spawning area, mitigate flooding, and simplify the redevelopment of downtown. The relocation project intends to divert the stream along the newly built Walter Hannon Parkway and allow the water to receive more daylight to create unique water-focused park space near downtown. The Superseding Order of Conditions issued by the DEP grants Quincy permission to proceed with its plans. Two appeals have been filed, though, so progress hinges on those results.
Images of the Quincy Town Brook culverts from and by permission of the Quincy Planning Department.