During Wednesday’s City Council meeting, Councilor Lydia Edwards, chair of the Housing and Community Development Committee, filed an order calling for a public hearing on the redevelopment of the One Charlestown project in an effort to bring City Hall and developer transparency to the community.
The hearing is planned for mid-to late-March and will, for the first time, take place in Charlestown.
“I felt it was necessary for the our community to be at the table,” she said. “We will be impacted the most, and we need City Hall to come hear us.”
The order requests that the hearing discuss the past process, specifically the requests for proposals, the selection of Corcoran Jennison, the new financial partner, the relationship to and discussion with the residents of the Bunker Hill housing development, the expected project timeline, and the alternative proposal known as the Community Consensus Plan.
“Many residents of Charlestown have expressed concerns regarding One Charlestown’s new project plans, process, financing, pending questions about the development timeline, and uncertainties regarding the relocation of members of their community,” said Councilor Edwards.
Councilor Edwards hopes to kick off productive conversation with the Boston Housing Authority, the Boston Development and Planning Agency, and all other interested parties including the public about the impact on schools, traffic, construction and overall infrastructure of Charlestown. The potential relocation and displacement of the several hundred Charlestown residents is also a top priority for the Councilor.
BHA Director Bill McGonagle said he welcomes the dialogue, but added that there has been a very open process to date.
“More discussion is better,” he said. “It’s a good thing and something we would support and encourage. It should not be left out though that there was a very significant community process in the community over the last two years.” State Rep. Dan Ryan, in noting his support, stated, “I appreciate the initiative Councilor Edwards is taking on the BHA development. Bringing the Council to our community is a great idea. This is about real process with government, community, activists, and developers all in one room. I look forward to participating.”
Councilor Edwards added, “The City of Boston through the Boston Housing Authority has endeavored to redevelop the existing 1,110 units in the Bunker Hill housing development, the largest in the New England, as a moral obligation to provide safe, clean, and sustainable housing. The sheer magnitude of the project, this process, and redevelopment has the opportunity to set a model locally and nationally. It is incumbent on government to be transparent and accountable to ensure transparency of the public-private partnership in its development.”
Edward also said having it in Charlestown is about bringing the process to the people.
“I don’t expect to answer every question, but I do hope to create a better process that starts with the people of Charlestown,” she said. “I am in this for the long haul we have work to do, and there will be other working sessions to follow.”
The public is encouraged to attend the public hearing to testify once a date and location is confirmed. If you would like to submit written testimony, please send via e-mail to [email protected].