CNC Resumes In-Person Meetings

The Charlestown Neighborhood Council held its first in-person monthly meeting since the pandemic struck on Tuesday, Sept. 7, at Knights of Columbus Hall.

Before introducing Caitlin Stapleton, Charlestown’s new liaison in Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, CNC Chair Tom Cunha said the community had lost many members in recent months, including Mike Charbonnier, a six-term former council member, who died Aug. 30 following a four-year battle with cancer.

“He will be missed by Charlestown,” Cunha said of Charbonnier. “He was one of the jewels in our Town.”

Stapleton, who just recently joined the Mayor’s office, said the Boston Parks and Recreation Department will sponsor a Ryan Playground Design Meeting via Zoom on Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 6 p.m.

The meeting, said Stapleton, would focus on what the community wants to see incorporated into the park and its existing conditions, as well as flood resiliency.

In another matter, the CNC has endorsed an idea put forward by longtime resident, Don Haska, to attempt to establish  “a ‘Battlefield District’ for all ‘Charlestown Heights,” under numerous Massachusetts Historic Preservation laws,” as Haska explained in his June 10 Letter to the Editor in this publication. The CNC asked him to move forward with his idea, which would “designate Charlestown as one of the few battlefields in the country,” said Cunha.

The CNC also unanimously endorsed a proclamation put forward by Ted White, a former firefighter and U.S. Marine and Purple Heart recipient (who was in attendance at the meeting), along with Bill Foley, vice president of the USS Cassin Young (DD-793) Association, to make Charlestown a “Purple Heart Community,” as well as for Charlestown to recognize Aug. 7 as Purple Heart Day.

In providing an update on the redevelopment of the Bunker Hill housing project, Cunha said the Kennedy Center, the biggest abutter, had asked the developer to try to keep dust to a minimum.

The redevelopment project is slated to  get underway with the demolition of Building F in December or January, said Cunha.

“Once it starts, we’re going to have to jump in with both feet,” said Cunha, who added that he would like to see “dust cages” 15 feet above the buildings, as well as workers on site Saturdays and Sundays.

Meanwhile, CNC member Nancy Johnsen provided an update on “Plan: Charlestown,” a neighborhood planning initiative led by the Boston Planning and Development Agency that, according to their website, “builds on earlier planning work and will produce a framework to predictably shape the future of Charlestown.”

The plan will look at “what the priorities are for the neighborhood,” she said, including providing better transportation to  CharlesNewtown, as well as looking at the vehicle capacity that Sullivan Square and all of Charlestown can ultimately accommodate.

Consultants for the plan were hired last month, who will be charged with “hard infrastructure suggestions,” said Johnsen.

The city will also hold two “Plan: Charlestown” meetings in October, she said, with the first focusing on Sullivan Square and the second on the “main body” of Charlestown.

The CNC will hold its next monthly meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall, said Cunha.

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