Thursday, June 30, 2016

Boston City Council Passes Budget & Looks at Helipads, South Station Expansion, Cultural Council & More

City Council President Michelle Wu publishes notes from Boston City Council meetings. The Boston City Council considered these items and more during their June meetings:

Appointments: 
Mayor Walsh appointed David Leonard as President of the Boston Public Library  
Mayor Walsh appointed Liam Curran to the Licensing Board for a term ending June 2022

FY17 Budget: After 24 budget hearings over the last few weeks, the Council voted to pass Mayor Walsh’s revised budget for the next fiscal year, which starts July 1st. Each Councilor spoke on her or his reasoning for supporting or opposing various pieces of the budget. Overall summary:  

--General Operating Budget ($1.28B): Passed 12-1 (Councilor Jackson voting against). Most Councilors spoke very positively about the resubmitted operating budget, with recurring praise for the additional investment in Boston Public Health Commission staff to provide triage services for residents experiencing homelessness, funding for additional ambulances and EMS staff to meet increasing emergency response need and keep response times low, support for parks, funding for language and communications access, support to help implement the City’s small business plan, and creating an Office of Returning Citizens to provide reentry services. Several Councilors expressed disappointment that this budget did not include funding for Housing First City-funded rental housing vouchers—as Councilor Zakim said, “the solution to homelessness is a home.” Councilor Pressley expressed disappointment that the Boston Public Health Commission wasn’t receiving more funding, particularly for trauma supports. Councilor Jackson stated that he was voting against this budget, because he believes more funding should have been allocated from the General Fund to Boston Public Schools instead.  

--$15M appropriation for Northern Avenue Bridge design and engineering, interim measures: Passed 10-3 (Councilors Essaibi-George, Jackson, Pressley voting against). The Northern Avenue Bridge spans Fort Point Channel, built in 1908, closed to vehicular traffic starting 1999 and recently closed to pedestrian traffic as well in 2014 for structural safety issues. The City convened an Ideas Competition to solicit designs and has not yet finalized a design. The $15M appropriation comes from the Parking Meter Fund would go to dealing with the existing structure and completing a design. The Parking Meter Fund takes in revenue from parking meters, and must be used on costs associated with transportation. Although there has been about $16M of recurring annual revenue from parking meters in recent years, there was also a large surplus fund built up that should not be considered recurring revenue. The $15M comes from the surplus, and the Administration stated that they would be using this restricted operating funding to pay for a capital expenditurebecause we need to reserve capital budget capacity for BPS Facilities costs (after the report will be finalized later this year) and be more creative about how to fund infrastructure. Some of the Councilors opposing stated that they believed the funding should have been used for at least some other transportation costs that could have freed up additional funding for BPS.

--BPS Operating Budget ($1.032B): Passed 9-4 (Councilors Campbell, Essaibi-George, Jackson, Pressley voting against). This year’s Boston Public Schools budget saw cuts in some areas and investments in others. Many Councilors opposed the cuts to Early Learning Centers and the reduced weight for students with autism in the weight student funding formula, and several Councilors described the budget as underfunded and unfairly forcing school leaders to choose between important priorities. Other Councilors pointed to the fact that BPS is spending about $20,000 per student (with city funding and grant funding) and should be able to provide a quality education. A few Councilors noted that Superintendent Tommy Chang has only been on the job for 11 months, and needs to have time to implement changes. The revised budget added almost $5M to the BPS Operating Budget, increasing access to Advanced Work Classes and partially restoring cuts to Early Learning Centers. The budget also expands K1 programming by 200 seats and invests in operational efficiency, performance accountability, and long-term planning. My personal view is that this is a fiscally responsible budget that represents the Administration’s priorities, and we will be looking to BPS to deliver the efficiencies promised in the budget. It is the largest-ever investment in Boston Public Schools, but there are deep structural issues that prevent dollars from reaching the classroom, and we must continue to work on reforms that will allow more resources to go directly to teaching and learning.  

--$8M appropriation for Franklin Park Pathways, Smith Playground & Paul Revere Mall: Passed 13-0. This amount was the surplus funding from this past winter’s snow budget, which went unused because of relatively mild weather. According to good budgeting principles, because it is a one-time revenue source, it should not be used to fund recurring costs (as that would create a shortfall for next year’s costs in that category). These three parks projects are one-time capital projects.  

--Capital Budget ($1.91B): Passed 13-0. This was the 2nd reading for the capital budget, which are one-time infrastructure and improvement projects paid for by municipal bonds. Each capital appropriation requires two Council votes at least two weeks apart, of at least 9 affirmative votes. The first reading on June 8th was also unanimous. See a map of all the City’s capital projects at: http://budget.data.cityofboston.gov/....    

Commercial Helipad: Councilor Flaherty called for a hearing to discuss the possibility of a commercial helipad in Boston, following reports of GE’s interest in locating one in the Seaport neighborhood. He mentioned that Boston used to see corporate helicopter usage until the helipad was demolished to make way for the Boston Convention & Exchibition Center, and nearby residents had to deal with noise, air pollution, and safety impacts. He emphasized that it’s important for the Council to be ahead of the planning, and bring residents into the process before any decisions have been made. The order was sent to the Parks, Recreation & Transportation Committee.

Boston Cultural Council: Mayor Walsh filed an amendment to the city code to allow the Boston Cultural Council to accept and act on grant applications more than once annually. The order notes that giving the Cultural Council more flexibility to accept grant applications throughout the year will further its ability to promote the arts, culture and the humanities in the City of Boston. The matter was referred to the Government Operations Committee.

Parking: Councilor Baker filed a hearing order to discuss the current city resident and visitor parking programs as well as the potential to develop new revenue generating parking permit programs. The order further discusses the possibility for new parking structures within the city. We will also make sure the conversation includes discussion of how to reduce the need for parking by supporting public transportation, walking, and cycling infrastructure. The matter was sent to the Parks, Recreation and Transportation Committee for a hearing.

Office of Economic Development: Councilors McCarthy and Essaibi-George filed a hearing to discuss the restructuring of the Office of Economic Development, with a specific focus on the Main Streets program, Mayor Walsh’s Small Business Plan, and the creation of the Office of Small Business Development. There are over 40,000 small businesses in the City of Boston, of which 35% are women-owned, 32% owned by people of color, and 27% owned by immigrant residents. Several Councilors spoke about the importance of local businesses to our city’s economic development. The matter was sent to the Jobs, Wages and Workforce Development Committee for a hearing.

South Station Expansion: Councilors Flaherty & Linehan called for a hearing on MassDOT’s plans to build rail layover facilities at Widett Circle, Readville Yard, and potentially Beacon Park Yard in Allston. Councilor Flaherty noted that the New Boston Food Market has 21 food processing and distribution businesses that employ over 900 workers, and Widett Circle’s future should include public feedback and City oversight. The matter was sent to the Planning & Development Committee for a hearing.

For complete notes on this meeting and prior Boston City Council meeting notes, visit MichelleForBoston.com or sign up to receive these notes automatically each week by email. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Fort Point Summer Gathering: Up On The Roof

The Fort Point Neighborhood Association (FPNA) wishes you a happy first day of summer and invites our neighbors to a summer gathering Up On The Roof at 315 on A on:


Tuesday, June 28, 2016
6pm - 8pm
Sky Lounge
315 A St., 20th Floor

featuring special guests

Senator Linda Dorcena  Forry

&

Representative Nick Collins

introducing

Hopsters
Custom Craft Beer Brewery, Restaurant & Pub


Lola 42
sister restaurant to Nantucket's Lola 41
22 Liberty @ Fan Pier

plus
Latest Neighborhood News

*** tasty bites by Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca ***


Next monthly gathering returns to Factory 63 onTuesday, September 27th.

originally posted 6.20.16

Friday, June 24, 2016

Final Shows of Dreambook Tonight & Tomorrow

The Fort Point Theatre Channel's final shows of Dreambook, a musical tale of New Orleans in 1848, are:

Friday, June 24 
Saturday, June 25
8 pm
Boston Playwrights' Theatre 
949 Commonwealth Ave, Boston
Robin JaVonne Smith (left) as Anna Lion and Lauren Foster as Walt Whitman;
photo Carolle Photography

Dreambook is a collaborative theatrical reimagining of pre-Civil War New Orleans, often considered the most unique of U.S. cities. Dan Osterman and Nick Thorkelson's fictional drama, with musical elements performed live, serves as an invitation to envision this past with fresh eyes and ears, while also coming to grips with what has changed--or not--in American culture.

Walt Whitman and the adventurer William Walker factor heavily in Dan Osterman's play. Yet Dreambook does not revolve only around those larger-than-life historical figures. Rather, Osterman provides a close view of two other historical individuals: artist Jules Lion, a free person of color and the first daguerreotypist in New Orleans; and Anna Lion, a shape-shifting, irrepressible black teenager."This is not the Whitman you think you know," states playwright Dan Osterman

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Development News This Week

The South Boston Dorchester Avenue Corridor draft plan comment deadline is June 22, 2016.  To view the revised draft plan and submit your comments click here. The Dorchester Ave. Corridor Plan community planning process began in September 2015 with a tour and monthly workshops. Read earlier articles


Pier 4 Phase 3
Pier 4 Phase 3 Public Meeting
June 23, 2016
6:30pm - 7:30pm
All Seasons Gathering Room, 100 Pier 4 Boulevard

The Boston Redevelopment Autority (BRA) is hosting a public meeting to discuss Tishman Speyer's (the "Developer") proposal, as submitted in the Fourth Amendment to Planned Development Area # 64 and the First Notice of Project Change to Pier 4 Phase 3 to remove 33,767 square feet of under water land from Planned Development Area # 64 and facilitate the off-site construction of approximately twenty-two units of affordable senior housing at 5 Major Michael J. O'Connor Way in South Boston. A public comment period will be open until July 8, 2016 to facilitate discussion of these changes, 

BRA To Launch New Website 
The BRA will be launching a new website to define the future of the agency and to reflect reforms identified under the Walsh administration.  Over the course of 14 weeks with the assistance of Continuum, a locally-based leading global design consultancy, the BRA will be gathering feedback from all stakeholders including residents. More details at nextbra.org and on Twitter #nextBRA. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

This Week In Fort Point: Art, Flowers & Condos

This week Fort Point brings you opportunities to beautify your neighborhood, get ready for upcoming residential condominiums and see visual and performing art right outside your door.  

Fort Point Shines continues into the summer with Weed, Wine and Vines on Tuesday, June 14th from 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm at Wormwood Park (Wormwood & A Streets). Save the dates of July 5th and July 26th for July Weed, Wine & Vines events (same time and location). Tools, gloves and wine provided. 

TCR Development's residential condominiums at 10 Farnsworth Street is scheduled to begin construction by the end of June. Residential abutters are invited to attend a pre-construction meeting with Sea-Dar Construction this Wednesday, June 15th at 6 pm at FP3 (346 Congress St.). 


Wendy Shapiro

Art starts Thursday night with openings at the FPAC Gallery (300 Summer St.) and at FP3 Gallery (346 Congress St.). The FPAC Gallery kicks off the celebration of Fort Point Spring Open Studios with the FPAC Group Show from 6 pm - 8 pm. Get a preview of work by artists opening their studios June 17 - June 19th. Afterwards stroll over to the  FP3 Gallery to view Wendy Shaprio's Sustainable exhibition from 7 pm - 9 pm. Her eco-friendly works layer horizons, clouds and soft sea storms.


The Fort Point Arts Community (FPAC) Spring Open Studios event features the work of over 100 artists, crafts people, and designers in galleries, on the streets, and in the water around Fort Point. 


Friday, June 17 Preview Evening: Selected studios open 4-7pm
Saturday, June 18 & Sunday, June 19: All participating studios open 12-6pm


Explore artist studios in Boston's historic Fort Point warehouse buildings. Meet artists, visit studios and galleries, ask questions, see amazing public art. Hear music, see performances, and bring your kids for art-making. Buy original art from the people who make it. 

For more details on the artists and special events: artists demonstrations, performances and screenings occurring over this free weekend long event, visit the FPAC website. Free parking available at the P&G Gillette lots off of A Street. 

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Fort Point Channel Landmarks June 2016 Meeting

The FORT POINT CHANNEL LANDMARK DISTRICT COMMISSION will hold a public hearing:

Thursday, 10 June  2016
5:30 PM
Boston City Hall – Piemonte Room (5th Floor)

After 5:30 pm, enter and exit City Hall at the Dock Square entrance on Congress Street
(across from Faneuil Hall).

Subject of the hearing will be applications for Certificates of Design Approval on the agenda below, review of architectural violations and such business as may come before the commission, in accordance with Ch. 772 of the Acts of 1975, as amended. 

I. DESIGN REVIEW HEARING
5:30 PM
Application 16.1556 FPC 34 Farnsworth Street
Applicant: Barry Sussman, Craft Beer Cellars (Applicant)
Proposed Work: Install two window decals (a Craft Beer Cellars logo and “Phone: 857.233.2867 Facebook: cbcfortpoint Twitter: @cbc_fortpoint”).

5:45 PM Previously presented 5/2016 and 3/2016
Application 16.1101 FPC 363 Congress Street
Applicant: Denis Dowdle, Madison Properties (Applicant)
Proposed Work: Modify previously approved chain link fence around the perimeter of the transformer.

6:00 PM Previously presented 5/2016 for Advisory Review
Application 16.1557 FPC 25 Thomson Place
Applicant: John Kiernan, Fort Point Channel Investors, LLC (Applicant)
Proposed Work: Removing non-historic infill and installing windows; modifying openings to create at-grade openings; and installing signage.

6:15 PM Previously presented 5/2016 for Advisory Review
Application 16.1558 FPC 44 Thomson Place
Applicant: John Kiernan, Fort Point Channel Investors, LLC (Applicant)
Proposed Work: Removing non-historic infill and installing windows; modifying openings to create at-grade openings; and installing signage.

6:30 PM Previously presented 5/2016 for Advisory Review
Application 16.1559 FPC 47 Farnsworth Street
Applicant: John Kiernan, Fort Point Channel Investors, LLC (Applicant)
Proposed Work: Removing non-historic infill and installing windows; modifying openings to create at-grade openings; and installing signage

6:45 PM
Application 16.1560 FPC 250-253 Summer Street
Applicant: Susan Twomey, Bergmeyer Associates, Inc. (Applicant)
Proposed Work: Creating new openings and modifying the walls and ceilings within the harbor walk; install lighting; remove non--historic paint from the masonry walls; install rooftop mechanical equipment.

II. ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW / APPROVAL:

Application 16.1561 BB 250-253 Summer Street: Work at the secondary rear fa├žades, including replacing deteriorated face brick with new brick; repointing; and applying a masonry binder and water repellent to the deteriorated brick faces.

PROJECTED ADJOURNMENT: 8:00 PM

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Gallery At 249 A Presents PAPER WORK

The Gallery At 249 A presents PAPER WORK: Torn, Cut, & Folded , a group exhibition by artists Laura Davidson, Ian Kennelly and Mark LeSaffre. The opening reception will be held on:

Thursday, June 9, 2016 
from 6 pm - 8 pm
249 A Street


All are welcome. 


PAPER WORK is on view through July 16th and open by appointment and during Fort Point Open Studios, June 17-19th. 

Gallery At 249 A features rotating art exhibitions and special arts events. The space is an evolving project of the 249 A Street Cooperative, one of Massachusetts’s first limited-equity live/work cooperative for artists. The building, which is home to more than 45 artists and their families, has served as a model for artists’ housing nationwide and was key in the growth of the Fort Point Arts Community (FPAC). Gallery At 249 A Street was the home of the FPAC Office for its first eleven years. The 249 A Street Cooperative celebrated its 30th anniversary with the opening of this new gallery space in September 2014.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Free Screening of Purple Rain

Fort Point Stage 
 presents
 an outdoor screening of

 PURPLE RAIN (1984)
 Director: Albert Magnoli

 Friday June 10, 2016
 8:30 PM
 A Street Park
 One Channel Center
 Fort Point

 [raindate: Sunday June 12, 8:30 PM at A Street Park]

Purple Rain 

  • Cast: Prince, Apollonia Kotero, Morris Day
  • A young musician, tormented by an abusive situation at home, must contend with a rival singer, a burgeoning romance, and his own dissatisfied band, as his star begins to rise.

Bring chairs, blankets and snacks. Sagarino's will be open until 11 PM.  

If rain threatens, check, Fort Point Stage website at 4 PM for cancellation notice.

Sunday, June 05, 2016

South Station Expansion Mtg Wed, 6/8

MassDOT is holding a meeting on the South Station Expansion on Wednesday:

South Station Expansion Project Community Meeting
Wed, June 8th at 6PM
Courtyard by Marriott
63 R Boston St, South Boston, MA




MassDOT plans to submit a Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for the South Station Expansion Project to the Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs early this summer. The FEIR includes a preferred South Station Expansion alternative, summarizes the changes to the project since the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) filing in 2014, and incorporates the additional environmental analyses outlined in the Certificate on the DEIR. The FEIR provides responses to comments received on the DEIR.


MassDOT is finalizing the FEIR filing schedule, public meeting dates and additional materials. Please revisit this website soon for more information.

In addition, MassDOT is preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) under the federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The EA will be released in 2017.

MassDOT is committed to comprehensive and inclusive civic engagement as part of the South Station Expansion project. Please explore the website for additional information, and feel free to contact Steve Woelfel, Deputy Director, MassDOT Office of Transportation Planning (steve.woelfel@state.ma.us).


www.mass.gov/MassDOT/SouthStationExpansion

Friday, June 03, 2016

Dorchester Heights Cannon Unveiling & Dedication

The South Boston Historical Society invites you to attend the National Parks of Boston's unveiling and dedication of a replica of the cannon brought to Dorchester Heights from Fort Ticonderoga during the 1776 Siege of Boston.


SATURDAY, JUNE 4, 2016
11 AM

The event commemorates the 240th Anniversary of George Washington's First Victory and the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service. The covert seizure of artillery from the British fort at Ticonderoga and the placement of those arms atop Dorchester Heights in March of 1776 led to ousting the British from Boston, where Redcoat troops had been stationed since 1768.

The Waltham American Legion Band, the Lexington Minute Men, and local veterans and dignitaries will be on hand. There will be family activities and an archaeology simulation at this free event. Dorchester Heights is located in South Boston, directly behind South Boston High. Street parking is available on Thomas Park.

On Monday, June 6, D Day, join the South Boston Historical Society at 6:30 pm in the St. Augustine Chapel for a special conversation with South Boston veterans. Ed Hamilton, a World War 2 US Navy veteran, will be our featured guest, along with other men and women from our community who have served.  This promises to be a special event, and an opportunity to spend time inside one of Boston's most historic buildings, the oldest Catholic church in Massachusetts. 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Fort Point Festival June 5th

The Friends of the Fort Point Channel is kicking off summer with a Fort Point Festival


Sunday, June 5, 2016
12 pm - 4 pm 
25 Thomson Place  

The inaugural event celebrates everything Fort Point, featuring food tasting from local restaurants, an outdoor Trillium Brewing beer garden, arts & crafts, live music, plus a corn hole competition! More details.


All are welcome to attend and enjoy live music by LoVeSeXy – Tribute Band to the Music of Prince!, treat yourself to art from local artists and celebrate being outside on Thomson Place.  If you want sample food  from Fort Point area restaurants and access to the Trillium Brewing outdoor beer garden (21+), purchase your ticket now.

Don't forget to stop by the Fort Point Neighborhood Association table and discover other neighborhood events and news.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Boston City Council Looks At Water Transport, Vision 0, Saturday Construction & More

City Council President Michelle Wu publishes notes from Boston City Council meetings. The Boston City Council considered these items and more at their May 18th and May 25th meetings:

Saturday Construction Hours: The Council passed an ordinance to amend the regulation of construction hours and Saturday permits. The amendment changes the fee structure for off-hour work (anything outside of weekdays 7AM-6PM) from a flat rate of $100 whether the application is for 1 day or 1 week, to $100 per day requested. The penalty for each violation would be $300, and the Inspectional Services Department will not approve weekend work unless some emergency or urgent need is established.

Vision Zero: Councilor LaMattina as Committee Chair and Councilors O’Malley and Campbell as sponsors reported back about the Parks, Recreation and Transportation Committee’s Monday hearing to discuss traffic calming measures and the Vision Zero program in the City of Boston. Representatives from the Traffic Department, Police Department, Public Works, Public Health Commission, Elderly Commission, and the Disability Commission spoke about the interagency working group, the City’s published action plan and website, an online crash map, and plans for priority zones and neighborhood slow streets areas to do intensive street redesign work. The City also deploys a Rapid Response team after crashes to put temporary measures in place. Several Councilors emphasized the need for continued traffic-calming measures and the urgency of VisionZero.

Water Transportation: Councilors Linehan & LaMattina called for a hearing on the potential for water transportation in Boston Harbor, particularly to connect the neighborhoods of South Boston, East Boston, Charlestown, The North End, and Wharf District. Councilor LaMattina stated that the BRA has funding for two water shuttles, but we have not yet implemented service. Meanwhile MassPort’s community mitigation includes a water shuttle route that is hardly used at all – many opportunities for coordination and expansion. Councilor Linehan noted that not only does Boston’s growing population require better transportation, but SailBoston will be bringing Tall Ships back to Boston in 2017, with programming across all neighborhoods connected to the Harbor, and we should get the shuttles running by then. The matter was assigned to the Committee on Parks, Recreation and Transportation for a hearing.

Landmark Designation: Mayor Walsh filed a Landmark designation for the Massachusetts Historical Society Building, 1154 Boylston Street, starting the 30-day window for the Council to potentially override the designation. For those curious about Landmarks Designation process: first the Landmarks Commission takes a vote (unanimous in this case), with a favorable vote passing it on to the Mayor for approval. The Mayor can disapprove the designation, take no action (with the designation then taking effect after 15 days), or approve it (as he did in this case). If the Mayor approves, the Council receives notification and has up to 30 days to override the designation by a 2/3 vote. This was sent to the Planning & Development Committee (the designation will take effect June 16, 2016 if not acted upon).

For complete notes on this meeting and prior Boston City Council meeting notes, visit MichelleForBoston.com or sign up to receive these notes automatically each week by email.