Townie Tidbits

By Sal Giarratani


I too like many in the Town read that Adrian Walker op-ed piece on One Charlestown ( Saving the Projects) and started to wonder what the Boston Globe’s agenda is on this Charlestown housing story. Often going back to the past, it does seem that the Globe loves dividing folks and pitting us against them. Sometimes I have felt like “them’ and other times “us” depending on the issue being diagnosed by the Globe’s head-honchos.

I really thank both Ed Katz and Arthur Colpack for expressing so clearly what seems to be happening over this issue that has once again pitted folks against each other.

Charlestown folk aren’t stupid and they are not a bunch of Archie Bunkers either. Everyone in the Town  wants to see decent public housing here. We all understand that something has to be done to the current Bunker Hill Housing Project. It is old and gett8ing older. It is in need of major renovations.

We all get what BHA Director Bill McGonagle is saying about dried up federal sources of funding which necessities  some kind of public private alternative in the rebuilding public housing projects across the country. McGonagle says the idea that One Charlestown represents is “a leap of faith” but it is apparently a leap worth taking.

Ed Katz probably represents lots of Towns talking about the leap like Charlestown is a test lab rat or as he called it “guinea pig.”

I missed the June 22 meeting. Can’t get to everything. Now I hear that things will go into a summer recess like Congress until after Labor Day. This story just drags on and on and on.

I still need to meet up with Sy Mintz to get a better understanding of his alternative vision for the housing remake.  I agree with Mr. Colpack that Sy’s plans have many backers. It isn’t just a handful of disgruntled as some are saying.

Everyone agrees that the status quo up on Bunker Hill Street in the projects needs to be addressed sooner than later. Folks have a right to decent housing. I spent many years in the projects over in Roxbury and the South End. I understand project life.

I understand the concerns of folks who see this massive and quite dense replacement that will include both market rate and subsidized housing as possibly not as positive as the developer, B.H.A. and local politicians seemingly have expressed. “One Charlestown” will create not only 1,100 new BHA units but another 2,000 units of new residential units. Many thing the density is far too much. The developer says anything less than the approximate  3,000 total units will make all the plans unworkable. Shrinking the total puts everything in jeopardy , they say.

As soon as I meet with Sy Mintz, I will report back right here. Now is the time for everyone to step back for a moment.  Charlestown may not be big enough to get more political clout but over the years that hasn’t stopped Charlestown from standing up loud and clear and forcing changes when few thought they could.

I wouldn’t get too worked up over the fake news purveyors over inside the Editorial Board room of the Boston Globe. They seemingly like pushing strife. Remember busing? Strife sells papers.

Now is the time to prepare for what happens after Labor Day when One Charlestown will be front and center again. Keep talking with each other. Keep comparing notes. Learn as much as you can.

Hopefully, when “One Charlestown”  happens it will be what this community needs and in the shape we can all agree. After all, isn’t that what it means to be “One Charlestown”?

If you have any comments or suggestions to make on this issue, send them here to Townie Tidbits. Together anything is possible. Keep the Faith and stay Townie Strong!

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