Letters to the Editor

Let Special Townies Remain in Their Original Location

To the Editor,

Teamsters Local 25 is proud to have called Charlestown home for the past 100+ years.  We are a trusted community partner, providing jobs for many residents and supporting organizations and events.  For instance, the Teamsters Local 25 Holiday Toy Drive annually gives hundreds of families and organizations toys for the holidays.  Our Women’s Committee has donated hundreds of winter essentials like coats, hats, and gloves to shelters in the Charlestown community.  The Teamsters Local 25 Autism Fund has raised several million dollars for autism organizations. At Thanksgiving we partner with Harvest on Vine to provide holiday meals to families in need.  We also support parades, churches, and youth sports.

That is why we were shocked and saddened to read about the struggles the Special Townies Organization is having with Peabody Properties and the Mishawum Park Tenants Association in your April 15 issue (Special Townies Seeking to Stop Possible Eviction).  Teamsters Local 25 has been a longtime supporter of Special Townies, and they were one of 11 organizations the Teamsters Local 25 Autism Fund financially supported in 2021.  We believe in this organization because we know it works.  Hundreds of families have been helped by this organization; many of them our neighbors.

Special Townies is a trusted partner to children and young adults with autism. They work with Charlestown families to provide support and give the children and young adults a safe haven to just be themselves.  For a person with autism, routine is crucial to their success as a new environment can trigger stress and negativity.

Attorney Jeff Turk who represents the MPTA, called the escalating situation, “a real-world issue we need to resolve because we need part of her (Special Townies) space back.”  Teamsters Local 25 believes autism is “a real-world issue” and moving the program somewhere else would set it up for failure.  Special Townies must remain at its current location.

Charlestown, like many communities in greater Boston, continues to see real estate sales skyrocket with very little inventory.  We love the community like everyone else and can see why people want to live here.  However, that doesn’t mean we should forget the residents who have lived here for generations and made their home here.  This is the time for the community to unite together and preserve organizations like the Special Townies Association.  We are hopeful that the Mishawum Park Tenants Association and Peabody Properties can work together to identify an alternative location for the MPTA’s needs and let Special Townies remain in their original location.

 Sean M. O’Brien

President/Principal Officer

Teamsters Local 25

How About a Safer Environment for the Pedestrians

To the Editor,

 Crossing Rutherford Avenue at City Square has become a very dangerous endeavor and it’s only May. Since the construction began on the Charlestown Bridge all pedestrian traffic has to cross Rutherford Avenue, and to cross, pedestrians are crowded in the median between the outbound and inbound speeding cars trucks and busses, because of a two-phased green light. One would think that with all the studies conducted leading to this project, the decision to have a continuous green light across would become apparent, but unfortunately common sense didn’t prevail and vehicle traffic flow was prioritized over pedestrian safety. Following is a quote from the North Washington Street Bridge Replacement Team at the Massachusetts DOT on their email reply when I asked why isn’t the light continuous. “When we looked at the timing and phasing in City Square, the signal did not perform satisfactorily when adjusted for a single-phase pedestrian crossing: taking the green time from the traffic backed up traffic badly.” Hundreds of kids, on the way to school, cross every day. Thousands of tourists, following the freedom trail, will cross this summer. Tens of thousands of crossings by pedestrians to and from work by the time the construction will be complete, and our DOT is concerned that the traffic will be backed up badly. Today on the way to school with my children, I witnessed a lady coming inches from getting hit by a speeding car as she was trying to find room for herself and her stroller in the very crowded median. Occasionally there is police detail assigned to the intersection and the officers all agree that a continuous green light is necessary for safety. The school crossing guard that’s there in the mornings and afternoons also agrees, but the DOT is concerned that traffic will back up.

Dear Department of Transportation and North Washington Bridge Replacement team, here is a crazy thought. Traffic is already backed up. It’s backed up because we live in Boston and there is a major construction project on the bridge. How about we create a safer environment for the pedestrians and maybe some of the people in those cars will choose to walk, as the weather improves, and the traffic will not be as backed up.

 Mano Katsompenakis

A Possible Solution

To the Editor,

I attended the Charlestown Neighborhood Council (CNC) Tuesday night, May 4, and to say I was disgusted with what I heard would be putting it mildly. 

Two subjects were discussed, our “Special Townies” and our “Elderly.”

Solutions:

•Use the second floor of the function hall – (original offices of Mishawum) what is that space being used for anyway?

•How about Mishawum using Baby Cakes space only for recertification space if they need privacy? That’s an easy solution.

•If they are going to expand office space, which means construction, why not take the housing unit above the office? Then there will be plenty of extra space, as a two-bedroom unit with bathroom and kitchen would offer plenty of space for FOUR EMPLOYEES.

•Really?…they need to take one-third of the space, exactly how big is that in square feet? They could put a portable building up, as they did at the function hall to accommodate their tools.

•They could rent an office trailer and put it where they park cars.

If they DO end up taking a one-third of the space from Special Townies:

•Cut their rent by one-third also, or better still, 50 percent.

I could continue with ideas of getting a space to accommodate a person and a couple of people for recertification which to clarify can be easily done by mail. I do it every year by mail with the City.

You do not have to do that in person or need space to do it in once a year. I am honestly disgusted and disappointed thinking that “Townies” would actually do this to OUR own, and especially to OUR Special Townies. 

Joseph J. Kelley 

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