The Charlestown Neigh-borhood Council (CNC) was the setting on Feb. 2 for a big announcement from Councilor Lydia Edwards that she would, indeed, be seeking re-election for the District 1 Council seat.
Her announcement put to rest any rumors or discussion that she might be seeking an at-large seat this time around with two at-large councilors now seeking the office of mayor. Despite those openings, Edwards said she is still having fun in District 1.
“I come to the CNC once a year and it means a lot to talk to the CNC and hear your thoughts and to be held accountable,” she said. “I am going to be seeking my job again and will be submitting my application, otherwise known as running for re-election. I’m running for District 1 City Council and no other job sought. I’m happy being your city councilor.”
This week, Edwards announced her campaign kick-off for District 1 will be on Friday, Feb. 26, at 5:30 p.m. in an online format due to COVID-19 restrictions.
During her visit to the CNC, she highlighted a lot of her accomplishments lately, but one key point was that development needed to set a higher bar for affordable housing in Charlestown.
“On paper, 13 percent is the goal for affordable housing, but I want 20 percent to be the standard,” she said.
She also said she wants to see Charlestown set up its own Stabilization Fund for affordable housing, such as was done with the money garnered from the upcoming development of the Suffolk Downs horse track, which has $5 million in the bank, she said.
“When I think about any project coming into Charlestown, I think we need to set up our own Stabilization Fund so we can have our own affordable housing,” she said. “You’re getting a lot of little units now. If you live in one of them, don’t get married, don’t have a pet and you’re definitely not going to be having kids there.”
She said when any new mayor takes office, her number one issue with the new leader will be to address the school situation in Charlestown.
“From day one when I was knocking on doors the most common question was whether their kids would have place in a local pre-school or elementary school,” she told them.
The second most important item will be housing she said.
•CNC Wants IAG Designation
The CNC discussed having a forum in April for mayoral candidates with a format of question and answer. The purpose was to get involved in the issues early and to get the CNC back on the priority list so it could become the Town’s official development vetting group. That was the case in the past, but under Mayor Martin Walsh, Impact Advisory Groups (IAGs) were put in place in the Town as they had been in other parts of the City. That took the CNC out of the official development review game, and some members feel it would a good idea to lobby any candidates to make that change.
“The new administration might be more open to the community council going back to its informational service that it does best,” said Chair Tom Cunha.
“At least we can get the information to every candidate to restore us to be the IAG designee in Charlestown like it was under Flynn and Menino,” said Bill Galvin.
The famed Legal Oysteria restaurant in the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) on City Square has closed for good, and AMC Director John Judge has been putting the word out that the space is available for an experienced restaurateur.
Member Karson Tager said the owner reached out to him and said that the former owner was willing to transfer over the liquor license to any new tenant.
•No More Grant Money
Chair Tom Cunha updated the membership on the fact that the Spaulding Community Grant money has been exhausted, and the CNC has no more funds to give out to organizations through their annual process.
“We have no more grant money for the CNC to give away,” he said. “We’ll need to negotiate for that in the future.”
•New Member from CPS
The Charlestown Preservation Society (CPS) has had a vacant seat on the CNC for some time, but now Mayra Martinez has filled the seat and is the newest CNC member. She was welcomed to the Council at the Feb. 2 meeting.