Townie Tidbits

By Sal Giarratani


Have you seen those silly $19.99 TV advertising spots for fitness training. There are all kinds out there in between shows like Law & Order. All kinds of toys to make you lose pounds without ever sweating. Who wants a workout that tires you out. Most of these products are $19.99 but if you act now, you can get two for the price of one. If you want really good (blank), it might cost you $39.99 but of course, the shipping and handling is separate.

I got something even better and it is FREE. Keep your $19.99 for something useful. How about taking daily exercise up and down the 40 Flights to Bunker Hill Street and St. Francis de Sales.

You may have to sweat a bit. Maybe, even get tired. But it will make you fit and extend your life and health a bit longer. After all, we all want to go to heaven but not today.



Anytime you have a public/private partnership when it comes to revamping an old project like the Bunker Hill Project built in the 1940s, you know the profit margin has to be a factor. If public dollars alone was behind what will take the place of the projects up on Bunker Hill, «One Charlestown› would look totally different in its architectural design. There would be no 21 story buildings. There would be densifying the place either. However, public dollars for public housing has become increasingly scares and thus you get private developers who would ease the financial pain of government officials.

I grew up in Roxbury as a kid and lived for a time in the Orchard Park projects. Not a great place but not that bad. Better than nothing I guess. I lived in St. Philip’s Parish in Lower Roxbury. We had a neighborhood and we had the projects. You lived in one or the other . Back in the 50s and 60s, Orchard Park was mostly black or Irish American. The neighborhood surrounding the church was mostly Italian American. However, there was clearly a difference between the neighborhood and the projects themselves.

Today, Orchard Park is a memory and for some not that great. It was replaced a number of years ago and replaced by Orchard Gardens and brand new townhouses that fit into the surrounding neighborhood.

If that’s what I saw in One Charlestown, I might like it very much but I am not sure that is the future of the projects that have long overstated their usefulness. The place looks like it is crumbling before everyone’s eyes.

We are being told by some that  folks in Charlestown don’t like the projects period and see them as just having been dropped down into Town over two generations ago.

I read the letter in last week’s paper from someone currently living in the Project who can’t wait for One Charlestown to be completed. He talks about the split in the Town between project folks and the rest of the place. I hate seeing references being made that create two Charlestowns or that folks outside the projects are opposed to this new development because  they don’t like project people. I don’t think this is the case at all.

Next week I want to continue this conversation and if you think you have something positive to add to the discussion, drop me an email at [email protected].

Do you like the proposal on the table right now? Do you have any ideas on how to improve it? Is there really some kind of war that separates those inside the projects from those outside it? If there is, how do we dismantle that wall?

Something will happen up on Bunker Hill Street at the site of the present projects. How can it be made to create that «One Charlestown» its name plays on? The last thing we need is Two Charlestown›s, right?

See you next week.

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