Letters to the Editor

PLAN Charlestown is Bad for Charlestown

To the Editor,

We are on the verge of losing Charlestown’s public land to a feeding frenzy of hyper development courtesy of the BPDA’s urban renewal tool: “PLAN Charlestown.”

There are nearly 20,000 residents of Charlestown. PLAN Charlestown seeks to double that number. The BPDA has sixteen major projects in queue equaling 50 new buildings in a ring around the neighborhood.

Our square mile is pinched with traffic at its entry points — today. What’s going to happen when the number of cars doubles? Where will we park? Where will the expanded health centers be located? Where will all these kids go to elementary school?

PLAN Charlestown does not respect or heed the residents’ livability interests. This PLAN will not make our lives better but it will make developers a lot of money.

The neighborhood doesn’t want to debate whether new buildings should be eight stories instead of ten. We don’t want to hear about a Charlestown loop shuttle service as mitigation for debilitating gridlock. We don’t want towering cookie cutter developments like the ones in Assembly Square. We don’t want a PLAN that paves over the character of this neighborhood and makes everyday life harder for those of us who live here.

We don’t want a BPDA led, urban renewal PLAN. We want the developers to submit the historic land use reports required for the redevelopment of public properties under Section 106, Title 54.

Charlestown is the mother of Boston. Her history runs deeper than any other neighborhood in Massachusetts. If she’d been treated with respect by the Boston Landmarks Commission and the BRA there’d be checks and balances against this redevelopment overreach.

The residents of Charlestown deserve better – and the truth of what Charlestown is ought to be defended:

A National Historic District based on the Charlestown battle sites and events of June 17th, 1775 – March 17, 1776.

The key to stopping PLAN Charlestown is for the whole town to be designated as a historic district under Chapter 40c (special historic district law). By reclaiming the national heritage of this district, Charlestown is eligible for a national historic district master plan. 

 Johanna Hynes

Charlestown Historic

Battlefield District Committee

NEW Health’s North End Site is Open and Operating

To the Editor,

We know you’ve seen the scaffolding outside our building since the summer – but we want to ensure you that NEW Health’s North End site is open and operating during renovations. All services are still being provided; select services are temporarily moved to our Charlestown location.

The City of Boston Inspectional Services Department and the George Robert White Fund, that manages the building, have confirmed that the building is structurally sound and safe for occupancy.

As promised, we will continue to keep the community updated along the way. The new roof installation process that began in August is taking longer than anticipated and will now wrap up in the coming months. The rest of the health center remains open; however, our dental and vision departments will continue to be provided at our Charlestown site at 15 Tufts Street. Our podiatry services remain in the North End but have been moved to the first floor. Dental, vision and podiatry services are not being discontinued.

Patients who have scheduled appointments in dental, vision and podiatry during this project will receive updates via Patient Gateway or phone. If you need an appointment in any of our departments or have questions about your care, do not hesitate to call the health center at 617-643-8000.

While prioritizing the safety and well-being of our patients and community members, we remain committed to providing high quality care and are working diligently to minimize the impact to our patients during this renovation. For more information, please visit newhealthcenter.org.

Thank you for your continued patience and cooperation during this process.

Vin Scibelli, CEO

Chief Executive Officer

NEW Health     

It Makes Me Wonder………

To the Editor,

As the city-wide elections are looming, it makes me wonder why I should vote? What difference does it make? The politicians are out there promising better schools, transportation, more affordable housing, a cleaner environment, the list goes on and on. Who doesn’t want all that and more?

But what happens when someone states in no uncertain terms that changes will be made? I am referring to our current mayor who ran on a platform to reform the Boston Planning and Building Agency? In 2019 Mayor Wu wrote a very credible position paper on the state of the BPDA and why it needs to be dismantled and I and many others were all in.

Hopping on the Wu train for this major change, especially as Charlestown is being swallowed up acre by acre in our one square mile, was a mission and purpose I thought finally I could be a part of. Who wouldn’t have concerns regarding our environment as research shows green and open space is beneficial to our health and well-being?

4000 people asked for better planning through a Master Plan. What we now have is Plan Charlestown continuing to chip away at every inch of space for towers, more residents, more traffic, more pollution, and more ill health among the present 20,000 residents. But wait, there’s more, the BPDA wants to add another 20,000 residents as well as two full sized soccer fields in this one square mile.

Dose the mayor not understand what the BPDA is doing to our community? Where is the commonsense? What happened to listening authentically to a community crying for better planning?  Why aren’t we being listened to?

No wonder the voting stats in Boston are so dismal!  Why don’t people vote? It makes me wonder why I am now questioning taking the time to vote? The mayor and her complete turnaround regarding the BPDA continue to baffle me.

What we all can do is write to the mayor and insist on a Master Plan. If you don’t take the time to stand up for what’s right then all that’s wrong will devastate this community forever and ever. 

Thank you.

Ann Kelleher  

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