By Seth Daniel
As all parties prepare to come back to the public table at the end of the month on the One Charlestown development proposal, City Councilor Sal LaMattina is calling for the community to unite behind the process, rather than splinter off into numerous separate groups.
LaMattina explained his position in its entirety in an op ed submitted to the Patriot Bridge this week.
“Only by working within the established process will we be able to get true consensus,” he wrote. “By splintering into different working groups, the voice of the greater Charlestown neighborhood is being diluted by vested interests. My mission is for everyone – from the project planning team to the residents of the community – to work together based on a saying I learned as a kid: “WHEN ALL GIVE, ALL GAIN.” The future is bright and the community certainly has a lot to gain from One Charlestown.”
LaMattina said he hasn’t encountered anyone who doesn’t agree the the Bunker Hill Development needs to be rebuilt. Obviously, the controversy over the project has come with the proposal, which includes some 3,000 units of housing, 1,110 which are public housing.
Additionally, LaMattina said the entire layout serves to divide the development from the rest of the Town. He hopes that something can be built that addresses concerns, and reunites the area.
“The architecture is outdated and the buildings are too densely packed together and have become run-down over the years,” he said. “The current street configuration serves to separate instead of unite. Other issues at the development are not so apparent. I believe that it is critical to respond to an environment in which residents experience the impacts of living in deteriorating conditions. Current residents are exposed to physical health risks stemming from poor ventilation, old plumbing, and generally unsafe conditions that arise as the buildings continue to deteriorate. We, as a community and as a city, do not want a single individual to have to endure these sorts of conditions, let alone the 1,100 families that currently call the Bunker Hill Housing Development home – and that is why we need One Charlestown.”
He continued that vein of thought by saying he hopes one day there is no stigma associated with “the projects” versus the Town.
“I see a future where no one in Charlestown feels that there is a stigma attached to what area of the neighborhood they come from and where anyone can walk from one end to the other, proud of everything they see around them,” he wrote.
He said his hope is that as the 90-day development review delay concludes, people will begin to work with the developer, the residents of Bunker Hill and the greater community.
“I am confident that all of the key stakeholders involved in the project will soon be coming back to the table,” he wrote. “I am hoping that they have listened to some of the concerns raised by the community and I call on all interested residents to engage in the review and planning process with the Corcoran Development team and the Boston Planning and Development Authority so that we can be confident that the final product will truly integrate the important considerations being raised.”