Mayor Walsh Talks Climate Change, Amazon Bid at Boston Chamber

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said the development of a new signature park is now underway and he will host a climate summit with mayors from across the country next year as part of a effort to tackle climate change.

Walsh addressed the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce's government affairs forum on Wednesday morning.

He announced the creation of "a landmark new green space" on the city's waterfront, which he said will take form as a series of connected parks at Fort Point Channel designed to protect the city from storm surge and sea level rise.

"These parks will protect not only Fort Point, but also downtown, Chinatown, and South Boston," Walsh said. "They will foster new possibilities for growth from South Station to Widett Circle. They will be a new jewel in our park system, accessible by public transit in Boston for everyone."

He added that the recent devastation in Texas and Florida due to hurricanes Harvey and Irma is a sign that more work must be done to protect future generations.

"I can announce that next summer, I will host a Climate Summit for America’s cities with my fellow mayors," Walsh said. "We’re not only going to make our city stronger, we’re going to rally our nation and our world to meet this fundamental challenge."

The mayor also touched on the city's bid to host Amazon's second world headquarters.

Amazon recently announced that it is promising to spend more than $5 billion on whatever site it chooses in North America. Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said the new headquarters will be "a full equal" to its Seattle counterpart, with as many as 50,000 jobs.

"My team has studied this opportunity closely," Walsh said. "We see a company ready to invest $5 billion. We see a company ready to grow 50,000 new, good jobs. We see a company using technology to change the world."

"We are the city that is ready to shape that change and meet this challenge."

Amazon has denied reports that Boston is a frontrunner in the nationwide search, saying every city is on even ground at this time.

Walsh also discussed development within the city in his speech Wednesday, focusing on housing and transportation.

He said a plan to create 53,000 new housing units in the city by 2030, including college, affordable and senior housing, is ahead of pace, with 22,000 new units already online.

As for transportation, Walsh acknowledged the efforts to reduce traffic congestion and said a long-term plan to improve the MBTA for working communities is a priority.

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