Letter To The Editor

Thank You From the Bunker Hill Associates

Dear Editor,

On behalf of the Bunker Hill Associates, I would like to thank the Charlestown Community for their support and participation in making Charlestown Pride Week a huge success.

Starting on Sunday with Touch a Truck, Charlestown’s March against Drugs, Peter Looney Night, Charlestown’s Got Talent and ending the week with the Edna Kelly’s Doll Carriage Parade and Family Fun Day, the Town’s participation was impressive. 

There are so many people to thank such as Seth Daniel and the Charlestown Patriot Bridge for their coverage of the events. Adding to the success of Family Fun Day, Sean O’Brien and Teamsters Local 25 and Local 11. Our local restaurants The Monument, The Blackmoor, Brewer’s Fork, Grasshopper Cafe and McCarthy Bros. Liquors.

It’s establishments such as these that faithfully participate in community functions and we as Townies should show support and frequent their establishments.

The Bunker Hill Associates put a lot of work and take great pride in planning and organizing these daily events that led up to the Battle of Bunker Hill Day Parade.

The community displayed exactly what the Bunker Hill Associates hoped for when Pride Week was started years ago – Pride in our Town.

We Thank You Charlestown.

Robert Beckwith

President

Bunker Hill Associates

Unsettling

Dear Editor,

As a resident of Charlestown, I know that development in the Town can be controversial.

However, from where I sit as a working person, it becomes more apparent each day that the lack of housing that is affordable to working people is crippling the ability of present and future generations of working people to find decent and affordable places to live in Charlestown. The seeming lack of progress in producing affordable housing for working people in Charlestown is unsettling.

According to a recent Boston Globe newspaper account (Jon Chesto, May 16, 2019), it appears that the owners of the Charlestown Commerce Center, which consists of two outdated, eight-story-high waterfront industrial buildings, are floating a plan with the Boston’s planning agency to renovate these properties into hundreds of residences that would be sold at prices that many of Boston’s workers can actually afford.  According to The Boston Globe, the owners anticipate unit prices would fall within the range of $350,000 to $650,000. In my view, such a project not only would serve the City as a whole, but it would appeal equally to many longtime Boston residents still struggling to buy their first homes, younger single workers and couples just entering the workforce, and many others who are feeling the City’s housing crunch at its worst. Further, the project would provide hope to many sons and daughters of lifelong Charlestown residents who are interested in staying in Charlestown and making their own homes here.  In short, to allow the project to proceed in public view would be a bold and constructive step towards substantially alleviating the housing crunch in Boston.

Unfortunately, this is not to be if the Conservation Law Foundation is to have its way. Once a champion of environmental causes to the detriment of many waterfront-dependent industries leftover from the last century, the Conservation Law Foundation has now apparently switched its tack 180 degrees in the opposite direction to prevent the Charlestown Commerce Center’s proposed project from ever seeing the light of day in public. In a letter to the City’s planning agency, the head of the Conservation Law Foundation calls upon the City to strictly enforce its overly restrictive and archaic zoning laws that pertain to the Charlestown Commerce Center. Perhaps the old zoning laws served a noble and worthy purpose back in the day. Today, however, they serve no such purpose, especially where many of the heavy manufacturing industries that the old zoning laws sought to encourage and protect have long gone into extinction.

Given the severe lack of affordable housing in Boston, is it not a no-brainer for the City’s planning agency to at least let the owners test the waters for their plans in a public review process? After all, is that not why the City instituted public review procedures in the first place? Ultimately, we may find out that there is no appetite for the owner’s plans.

But without an engaging public dialogue we will never know.

Sadly, by not speaking up on this issue, we are all allowing the Conservation Law Foundation to effectively slam shut the door of the courthouse in the face of an owner’s idea at a very preliminary stage of the proceedings, without just cause or good reason—merely to preserve someone’s misty notion that heavy industry will ever come back and flourish in Charlestown as it once did in times gone by—and very much to the detriment of us all.

Jack Kelly

Charlestown resident

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