By Michael Coughlin Jr.
As the sun sets on 2023, let us take a look back — in no particular order — at some of the standout stories in Charlestown over the last year.
PLAN: Charlestown is Adopted
The Boston Planning and Development Agency’s (BPDA) neighborhood planning initiative that brings forward changes to aspects of Charlestown, such as zoning and transportation, was adopted by the BPDA Board in September after years of planning. As part of this plan, changes were made to land use and density in the Sullivan Square and Rutherford Avenue planning framework area, which would accommodate around 18,000,000 square feet of new development over 30 years, about 8,000 units, and create approximately 20,000 jobs. Additionally, there were recommendations for improvements to neighborhood services and creating more open space opportunities.
Constitution Inn Project Gets BPDA Board Approval
In recent news, the BPDA Board approved The Independence, a project proposed by the Planning Office For Urban Affairs and St. Francis House at the site of the old Constitution Inn that would create affordable and permanent supportive housing. This story has origins dating back to 2022 when it was called The Helm on Third. The polarizing project had a strong contingent of residents who opposed the project and had concerns due to public safety, potential drug use at the site, and more.
Austin Street Parking Lots Process
Over the past year, the BPDA and the community have gone through a process to redevelop the Austin Street parking lots, which students of Bunker Hill Community College have historically used. After releasing a request for proposals in May and reviewing the two responses, Trinity Financial was tentatively designated to redevelop the lots in November. Trinity Financial’s plan includes a total of 686 units with 146 market rentals, 246 affordable rentals, 128 market homeownership, and 166 affordable homeownership units between four buildings, sports fields, retail space, and more.
Clougherty Pool Planning
Since the Clougherty Pool closed, residents have been waiting for it to reopen, and residents are slated to get their wish this coming summer. In February, a meeting was held to gauge interest in different types of design for the new and improved pool. Then, in July, features of the pool were displayed in another meeting, with the hopes of residents celebrating the Fourth of July in the new Clougherty Pool.
In February, the Charlestown Neighborhood Council (CNC) held a special election and had a great turnout, with around 338 residents voting. The winners in this special election were Crystal Galvin (At-Large), Kelly Tucker (At-Large), Jay Driscoll (Precinct 3), Ameeth Deenanath (Precinct 4), Kelli Gillen Forbes (Precinct 6), and Mary Catherine Boucher (Precinct 8).
Georgine Tower Celebrates 28th Anniversary
July marked the celebration of the 28th Anniversary of the Robert A. Georgine Tower, a low-income housing facility serving about 58 seniors. As part of the festivities, elected officials such as Mayor Michelle Wu visited the facility and celebrated the achievement with staff and residents.
Urban Wild Opens
Urban Wild, the entertainment venue in Hood Park, opened up this year. The facility features all sorts of entertainment for folks, such as bowling lanes, a music stage, a beer garden, and much more.
Bunker Monument Association’s 200th Anniversary
The group responsible for bringing the Bunker Hill Monument into existence celebrated its 200th Anniversary this year. The group, which was established in 1823, continues to bring attention to the Battle of Bunker Hill.
Ground Breaks on Bunker Hill Housing Redevelopment
City Officials celebrated the groundbreaking for the Bunker Hill Housing Redevelopment in June. The project, which is the largest public housing redevelopment in Boston’s history, expands the 1,100-unit community to a 2,699-unit mixed-income community.
BPDA Approves Purchase of Peace Park
In November, the BPDA Board approved the purchase of Peace Park to go forward with renovations due to construction limitations on the site under Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) ownership. These renovations stem from a 2021 Community Preservation Award from the City in the amount of $500,000. Following construction, the BPDA plans to transfer the land to the City’s Parks and Recreation Department.
As is the case with most lists, some stories did not make the cut. However, this list truly only scratches the surface of how many newsworthy moments occurred in Charlestown this year.
If you are in the mood to reminisce as we welcome 2024, you can always look back at the year that was in the Charlestown Patriot-Bridge archives at https://charlestownbridge.com/.