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State to spend $3 million to create Chelsea Greenway park

The state will spend $3 million to create an urban park in Chelsea, hoping it will spur economic growth, Governor Deval Patrick announced Wednesday.

The Chelsea greenway project will provide a three-quarter-mile green space that can be used by residents of the dense communities north of Boston, Patrick’s office said.

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“Governor Patrick’s historic investment in land protection and urban parks is an investment in our future,” Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard Sullivan said in the statement.

The greenway will run through the Box District neighborhood on a section of the former CSX Grand Junction Secondary Track, the statement said.

“The Chelsea greenway will connect neighborhoods, transform a community, and create growth, not only for the people of Chelsea, but for the entire area north of Boston,” said Sullivan.

The urban park will allot space for bike rides and walks, connecting the Box District with the Bellingham Hill neighborhood, according to the governor’s office.

Patrick’s office also announced Wednesday an extension of the MBTA Silver Line into Chelsea.

“Growth requires investment, and connecting the people of Chelsea directly to the airport, Seaport District and South Station, accompanied by new greenway space, will bring new opportunities for the residents of these communities,” Patrick said in the statement.

The city of Chelsea will pay for maintenance of the greenway, which will stretch from Chestnut Street to Eastern Avenue, Jay Ash, city manager, said.

“This is a connection we’re looking for,” said Ash. “It will provide a direct, convenient, and enjoyable path for people.”

The greenway will feature benches and grass, and some areas will have plantings, Ash said. It will take about two years for the project to be completed.

The city has been reserving space from Marginal Street to Eastern Avenue along the Chelsea River for the past 20 years, according to Ash, and the greenway will finally provide a space for people to enjoy the water.

“Biking will be convenient, safer, and more pleasurable,” said Ash, not just for Chelsea residents, but for neighbors in East Boston and Everett as well.

Melissa Hanson can be reached at melissa.hanson@globe.com or on Twitter @Melissa__Hanson.
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