Letters to the Editor

Scholarship Recipient Extends Gratitude to Charlestown Schoolgirls

To the Editor,

Thank you so much to the Charlestown Schoolgirls for selecting me to receive the Helen Joan Potter Peneau Memorial Scholarship and the Mimi Wrenn Scholarship.

I am so grateful to these families for their donations and to all the Schoolgirls who keep these scholarships going each year for college students like myself. This truly helps pay for my education at Loyola University Maryland.

Keira McGrath

Shameful, Shameless, and a Sham

To the Editor,

While it’s taken me too many years to reconcile my thoughts and wonderings about the Boston Planning and Development Agency, I’ve finally found their “Modus Operandi” that describes their operation in a few words, “The less you know, the more they sow.”

Over the last few years many projects and proposals have been granted approvals by the BPDA to go forward. How did this happen? An advertisement in the local paper does not reach all of Charlestown. A continuation of their Zoom meetings produces a handful of citizens that tune in. For the most part many are not informed. Asking to put a full- sized map in the paper is not part of their MO. It’s hard for anyone to digest the implications of more than 50 buildings in one square mile. A simple map would have been informative but it’s best to educate less.

The latest proposals of the Austin Street Parking Lots are shameful. Surrounding the development site are five highways, stalled traffic idling continuously, and the Boston Sand and Gravel Plant in full operation.

Filled wetlands, a severe flood zone, climate change, heat islands, a low tree canopy, and three ways in and out. Is that a recipe for success or a looming disaster?  And add another 20,000 residents to our one square mile of 20,000 residents. Does the BPDA not see what we all can see? Sadly, the consultants are aware of these inequities but keep building and building, it’s good for the BPDA’s bottom line. 

To even think about placing residents in multiple, buildings to live 24 /7 is disgraceful and an insult to the people whether its affordable or market rate. They will be confronted with seeing, smelling, and hearing the traffic as well as being trapped with no place to catch a breath of fresh air.

Yet, as the BPDA goes about business in a shameless manner, what can we expect? They seem to gloss over the pollution issues and have a disregard for a resident’s health. There is no forward thinking as to the complications with living in the middle of a toxic environment.

Trying to stay healthy and out of the hospital has its challenges but living at the Austin lots compounds any attempt to prevent illnesses and will only exacerbate one’s ability for any favorable positive health outcome. Albeit anyone with pre-existing conditions such as asthma, lung, and heart disease, auto-immune, cancer as well as mental health issues should not live there and subject themselves to more never-ending pollution as this will only compromise their health, crunch the health care system, and end up with medical debt. 

Plan Charlestown is a sham operation concocted by the BPDA to bypass any orderly and thoughtful development that would have been conducted by a Master Plan. Supported by over 4000 signers, the BPDA knew what they were doing to the developer’s delight.

Fill Charlestown with affordable housing smack in the middle of such a toxic environment, what is worse than that?  On another note, did the proponents of the proposals offer any pollution studies to justify their ambition to build and think it’s an okay environment to deposit people? Would the developers or the BPDA choose to raise their families there?

The BPDA must stop, listen to the people, and plan a better future for Charlestown. Enough is enough. If the mayor is not able or willing to change the trajectory of Charleston via the BPDA, then we need to go forward with a moratorium on building and invite other communities to join in making Boston a more livable, equitable city that people want to live and visit.

Ann Kelleher

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