Letters to the Editor

CYHA Comedy Night

To the Editor:

A vital fundraising event, CYHA Comedy Night, is upcoming on Sunday, Feb. 23, at 7 p.m., in the Knights of Columbus Father Mahoney Hall.

The night is a hilarious time with multiple comedians performing, most importantly it will be hosted by Charlestown’s own Tony V. You don’t want to miss it. Parents who went last year learned not to carry kid’s bags through comedic harassment.

The event is essential for raising funds required for the Association’s teams to compete in the State Playdown Championships in March.

Individual Comedy Tickets can be purchased at the Charlestown Rink Snack Shack for $25, or a table of 10 for $200.

We kindly ask you to attend the event, purchase raffle tickets and strengthen your involvement within our hockey crazy community.

If you have any inquiries please don’t hesitate to email [email protected].

There is only a month left before the rink closes on March 16th to close out the season. 

Raffles will also be available before & at the event, including:

•Signed Brad Marchand shirt

•Bruins players sticks

•Themed baskets done by teams

CYHA Board

Do The Right Thing

To the Editor:

“I believe the more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future,” said Theodore Roosevelt.

As the Bunker Hill Housing Project prepares to go forward, I want to express my concerns regarding the current plans.

As I have been relooking, refreshing and reflecting upon my past experiences with the Columbia Point Housing Project, it occurred to me retrospectively, that the project was flawed, before it became Harbor Point.

As a student nurse at the Boston City Hospital School of Nursing in the mid 60s, I had ample opportunity to frequent the project during my Community Health rotation, joining the public health nurse ferreting out TB, or other infectious disease contacts among the residents.

I recall, it was a scary, dirty, uninviting place that the residents called “home.”

Now, as I revisit Columbia Point, I realize why it was in such terrible shape. Columbia Point, being the largest public housing in New England with over 1500 units, was built on an “isolated” peninsula. It fell into disarray around the eighties with only 300 families left. It was situated on 50 acres with clusters of eight-story buildings.

Columbia Point had been described as a “massive isolated peninsula for poor people living in giant square buildings.”

In 1991, Columbia Point was completely torn down and now, 2020, is a vibrant community with 1,273 units: 400 subsidized and 873 market- rate. The density was reduced, it is on 50 acres: and has amenities.

UMass is adjacent to this housing and 50-percent of the residents are occupied by UMass dwellers. Again, over 50 years later, I’ve visited Columbia Point regularly picking up my grandson at the UMass Early Learning Center located in the heart of this development. This has been transformed into an award winning extraordinary complex where residents can now proudly call home.

The Bunker Hill Housing Project, situated on 24 acres, with a proposed 2,699 residences, is a repeat of being “isolated” such as the Columbia Point Project. The plan is for [5] 10 story buildings, with 100 deeply affordable segregated units. This seems oddly familiar to the original Columbia Point.

What is disturbing about this project is the potential to house over 6,000 residents plus resulting in about 260 residents per acre. Doesn’t it make sense to spread this development to other parts of available city owned land?

How can anyone be in support of the current BHHP proposal? Who would want to pay market rate to live in an isolated area? Who wants to pay to live on one acre with such a high density and no services?

What happens if the market rate apartments are not rented as projected? How will the project support itself in maintaining the properties? What is the back-up plan?

It occurred to me that Corcoran Jennison, the original developers five years ago, was tasked with a plan, bordering on the ridiculous. To come up with a proposal to finance the 1,100 affordable units with market-rate units, a total of 3,200 units on 24 acres would yield close to 300 residents per acre. Thank goodness the community got involved and said, “no way”.

Why didn’t the Boston Planning and Development Agency step up to the plate and have a conversation about spreading the project around to other available city owned property? The Bunker Hill Community College parking lot is available, as well as other lots in Charlestown.

Corcoran Jennison, if given that opportunity, could have half of the development completed by now. Five years later, five million dollars spent, and still the residents are living in more deplorable conditions.

On another note, while attending a Hood Plant meeting about a year ago at Mishawum, a participant in the audience asked the developer, “Won’t the Hood Plant tower set a precedent for future towers? The developer replied, “That would NOT be a bad precedent to set.”

Is the reluctance of the BPDA to use other sites for the BHHP to save for future towers?

Is the motto of the City, “Build now and worry later?”

Now is the time to worry about affordable housing, quality of life, climate change, mobility around Boston [traffic] and the demographics of this changing city.

I recommend the Bunker Hill Housing Development stop being a failed experiment and become a success with 600 affordable units and 1,200 market rate on site, with units on other sites. This is a 10- year plan and we can and should provide the BEST possible results for current and future residents.

There is no quick fix – just thoughtful planning and recognizing consequences of irresponsible development which should be of paramount importance in this endeavor.

Simply put, do the right thing for the current residents. It’s time to learn from the past, rethink the current plans and move forward to make the Bunker Hill Housing Project a shining light in our one square mile.

Ann Kelleher

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