RISE Construction – operated in part by Charlestown native Eric Gould – and the rest of the One Mystic development team have formalized an agreement with the Charlestown Veterans Partnership and the building trades to construct an elevator at Memorial Hall as part of the historic building’s restoration efforts.
The building has been in the throes of restoration for several years in small pieces, and it is the headquarters of the Abraham Lincoln Post and other veterans outreach efforts. This year, however, things have kicked into overdrive with City funding, construction by the North Bennet Street School and now partnership like this with RISE.
On Monday, several of the collaborators gathered with the veterans and representatives from the buildings trades to mark the commitment to construct the elevator and a new Honor Roll Memorial.
RISE Construction Management Executive Vice President Eric Gould said he was glad to give back to the Town that he grew up in, and particularly to the veterans.
“RISE Construction is honored to work with the local Charlestown Veterans Partnership to assist in the restoration of Memorial Hall and creation of the Honor Roll Memorial,” he said. “This is personal to us, as many of our team members grew up and still live here in the neighborhood. We are thankful to the Veterans and their impact in this community throughout the years, and we look forward to our continued friendship and partnership.”
Lincoln Post President Joe Zuffante said they are very happy to work with RISE and the One Mystic partners to promote veterans issues on the job and in the restoration of the Hall.
“We are very happy to cooperate and work with RISE Construction,” he said. “We’re happy to work with a local Townie who wants to contribute and give back. That, after all, is the fabric of this community.”
Rich Brennan, director of the Veterans Outreach Program, said this group came out of nowhere and offered to help, which is very rare.
“This group came out of nowhere to seek us out,” he said. “They wanted to help us. They opened the door to something much larger that we didn’t even know could happen.”
Steve Fabiano, of the Veterans Partnership, said it was refreshing to have developers looking to get a project in the Town seek out groups that need help and offer that help with no strings.
“They were the ones that came to us,” he said. “That’s a drastic change from anything I’ve seen in 50 years. They came to our door and they did that because they want to help veterans. They came out of nowhere and really took a big cloud off of our building.”
Bill Durette, of the Partnership, said he was impressed with the speed that they wanted to get something done.
“We met once and they immediately wanted to have a second meeting,” he said. “I was impressed by that because it said they were sincere about wanting to help the veterans groups. They came prepared and they haven’t even gotten anything yet. They wanted to get in with the community and give back first.”
Chris Brennan, a Charlestown native and the business representative for the Painter’s Union, said all of the building trades are in line with One Mystic and contributing to the Memorial Hall elevator and Honor Roll.
“We’re going to be working with RISE to help them with manpower and financially to help with the addition of the elevator,” he said. “It’s important to understand RISE Construction is a good contractor, a responsible contractor. The people that work for them and their subcontractors get a fair wage and benefits – health insurance and retirement. They’re the type of company we like to work with in the building trades. They’re going to be committing to other non-profits in the Town and putting Charlestown kids into training programs for jobs and offering real equity for the people of Charlestown. Traffic might be something to navigate with this, but the pros outweigh the cons. They’re incorporating all these non-profits from the veterans to the Recovery Community. It shows where they’re at. I think they’re smart enough to know they can make money and also spread the wealth here. You don’t really find that often, and in my business there isn’t a lot of that.”
Charlestown’s Greg Poole, of the Carpenter’s Union, said they are also committed. He said development is a tricky subject these days, but it gives opportunities and jobs, helps local groups like the veterans and improves the community.
“We’re fully in favor of the project and the prospect of providing more opportunities,” he said. “From a personal perspective, I’d like to see more people from the community get into the pipeline for good jobs and get an opportunity and a chance like I got in 1999…We’re looking to recruit more from Boston and preferably Charlestown. What everyone forgets is development changes places for the better. Development has been a great thing when compared to what it was here. No one would have come here to live. There were no opportunities here. Now, our children have opportunities and we can help our community organizations too.”