Friday, April 12, 2019

Good Friday (April 19, 2019) The Way of the Cross for Life



On Good Friday, Christians from East Boston and elsewhere will participate in a procession along the Stations of the Cross through several local churches. The event begins at 9 a.m. at the Most Holy Redeemer and concludes at the Madonna Shrine at Don Orione up the Heights. For more information email rmenditto@millmans.com and saintsandangels@comcast.net

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Councilor Lydia Edwards Proposes Fair Housing Amendment to Boston Zoning Code

Change Would Advance Civil Rights In Housing & Planning

(Boston, MA, APRIL 11, 2019) - Today, on the eve of the 51st anniversary of the Fair Housing Act, Councilor Lydia Edwards introduced a zoning amendment at the city council to advance fair housing through planning and zoning in the City of Boston.

“Planning and zoning can be tools of equity or tools of exclusion,” said Councilor Edwards. “As we move into the next 50 years of the Fair Housing Act, Boston can advance civil rights by adopting fair housing into our zoning code and ensuring we plan community development for all residents.”

The Fair Housing Act, signed into law on April 11, 1968, outlawed discrimination in sale, rental, and financing of housing. The Act does more, however, than just ban discrimination: it calls for processes that actively promote equity. The zoning change will require the city to engage in a thorough analysis of displacement and access to housing for protected classes, such as people of color, families with children, persons with disabilities, the elderly and other protected classes when reviewing new large-scale development projects.

Under the zoning change, large-scale developments would be subject to a fair housing analysis, ensuring that city plans include protected classes of residents, such as people of color, the elderly or persons with disabilities. The amendment focuses particularly on multi-acre “planned development areas” (PDAs). In reviewing PDAs, the city would be required to use data on barriers to housing, and local demographic information, in its decision about whether or not to approve the development, and just as importantly, in how it negotiates public benefits. 

Fair housing is already a commitment of the City of Boston and there are several laudable efforts underway. The Office of Fair Housing and Equity conducts fair housing trainings and, with the Fair Housing Commission, supports residents in addressing discrimination complaints. The Department of Neighborhood Development runs an Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Program to promote equal access to government-assisted housing.The Boston Housing Authority operates a Fair Housing and Employment Unit to enforce fair housing standards. However, there are not currently procedures in planning and zoning, which fundamentally shape community development, to affirmatively further fair housing or monitor how zoning and planning impact fair housing. The proposed zoning amendment would address that gap.

Summary of key changes:
  • Adds definition of "affirmatively furthering fair housing" and "analysis of impediments" to zoning code 
  • Adds definition of “exclusionary displacement” to zoning code
  • Changes "Article 80" (the zoning procedure for reviewing large development) to address fair housing and displacement concerns
  • Changes standards for approvals for future review, amendment or updates to massive “planned development areas” like Suffolk Downs or Seaport Square, to incorporate fair housing and displacement concerns
  • Raises the standards for public benefits in planned development areas affecting East Boston specifically. 
Source: Councilor Edwards office 4/10/2019


Tuesday, April 9, 2019

EBNHC Welcomes US Secretary of Health & Human Services Alex Azar




The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center welcomed United States Secretary of Health & Human Services Alex Azar II today to discuss the national HIV epidemic and EBNHC’s experience as a leading-edge provider of HIV prevention, screening, and treatment.

In 1995, EBNHC launched Project SHINE, a clinical and supportive services department that provides a range of services including community-based prevention, screenings for HIV/STIs/HCV, PrEP, HIV care, behavioral health, medical case management, linkage and retention, and psychosocial support.



"We’re grateful for Secretary Azar for visiting us to see how community health centers play a vital role in the fight to end the spread of HIV and how we are leaders in providing value-based care,” said EBNHC President and CEO Manny Lopes.




Monday, April 1, 2019

Mayor Marty Walsh and Pipefitters Local 537 Unveil Free, State-of-the-Art Training Center for East Boston Residents

Job-seekers Urged to Avoid Tuition Debt – Visit Pipefitters537.org to Learn More About Free Training, Industry-Leading Wages & Benefits; Hundreds of Union Construction Jobs Available


Welding instructor Pete Elwood demonstrates at Pipefitters Local 537's open house.

DORCHESTER, MA – Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Pipefitters Local 537 urged East Boston residents to take advantage of the union's new FREE state-of-the-art training facility to jump start their careers in construction without going into debt on Saturday.  

They were joined at the facility's unveiling by hundreds of job-seekers, community members, union contractors, Local 537 members and families. 

“This facility is more than a training center,” said Mayor Walsh. “This is about getting trained for world-class jobs and a changing industry and being able to adapt and change in the industry. That’s what this facility represents.” 

Hundreds of event attendees toured the facilities, met with instructors and current apprentices, and learned about life-changing job opportunities in the region. 

Brian Kelly, Business Manager for Pipefitters Local 537, noted that training at the union’s facility provides debt-free, world-class instruction.

"With this new campus, we've more than tripled our hands-on training spaces, improving our ability to support members in every way possible," said Business Manager Brian Kelly. "This project is a true testament to our training program, curriculum, and world-class instructional staff. We're thrilled to be creating opportunities instead of forcing people to go into thousands of dollars of debt at a technical college

For more information about career opportunities with Pipefitters Local 537, visit Pipefitters537.org or call (617) 787-5370. 


About Pipefitters Local 537 

Pipefitters of Local 537 represents over 2,800 members across Massachusetts and is affiliated with the United Association. From medical campuses to area universities, Local 537 is proud to have worked on projects of all shapes and sizes throughout the region for over 100 years. Local 537 continues to provide career opportunities to apprentices and journeypersons in the industry and is determined to ensure the best wages and benefits for Pipefitters, Welders and HVAC- Refrigeration Technicians.

Source: Celeste Aguzino, 617-455-1498, celeste@617mediagroup.com

Local 537 Business Manager Brian Kelly addresses crowd



Local 537's new training facility in Dorchester



Mayor Walsh in pipe-cutting ceremony


Friday, March 29, 2019

Mayor Walsh's column: Celebrating One Boston Day



by Mayor Martin J. Walsh 

Every year on the third Monday in April, tens of thousands of athletes gather in Hopkinton, and begin the 26.2-mile journey to Boylston Street in Boston. All along the Marathon route, spectators cheer on their friends, family members, and complete strangers. It brings our city together like nothing else. That’s why the Boston Marathon is much more than a road race. It’s a celebration of everything Boston stands for -- our grit and heart; our resilience and hope.

In recent years, the Marathon has come to stand for something even bigger. April 15, 2013 left our city reeling -- it was one of our city’s darkest days. But it also showed us the generosity and compassion of everyday people. We came together as one community, as one Boston, and we showed the world what it meant to be Boston Strong. We showed that we would never let the darkness win. And we vowed to take back the finish line.

Over the last six years, we have turned the Marathon into a movement. April 15th will always be One Boston Day. It’s a Citywide day of service, reflection, and healing. It serves as a way to celebrate the resilience, kindness, and strength demonstrated by the people of Boston and around the world in response to the tragedy. We honor those we lost, and those whose lives changed forever, with acts of kindness, big and small. It’s a day when Boston shines brightest. And it’s a tradition that we will continue for years to come.

This year, for the first time since 2013, One Boston Day and the Marathon fall on the same day. It will still be a citywide day of service. I call on everyone to do something good for your community on Monday or the weekend leading up to it. Go to OneBoston Day.Org and tell us what you will do.

This year, we are also finalizing our work on permanent markers on Boylston Street to honor the lives that were lost near the finish line on April 15, 2013. Artist Pablo Eduardo is working closely with families to honor their loved ones in a meaningful way. These markers will reflect our City’s spirit after the tragedy: bent, but not broken.

This remembrance consists of stone markers on two separate sites. Bronze and glass pillars will rise and twist into each other, representing the lives lost. The markers will forever serve as a symbol of hope, representing our city’s resolve. We look forward to their completion this coming summer. 

Until then, please join us in preparing for the fifth annual One Boston day on April 15, 2019. I encourage you to visit OneBostonDay.org, to see the acts of kindness planned by individuals and organizations throughout the city and around the world. Last year, we counted more than 43,000 individual acts of kindness. Bostonians shared their projects on social media, and the hashtag #OneBostonDay was trending nationwide. This year, as we get closer, we’ll be highlighting the projects people are planning. Whether it’s volunteering at a food bank, or helping your neighbor with a household project, there are countless ways to honor this special day. I hope that the stories of others’ actions inspire you to get involved this year, and for many years to come. 

For 123 years, the Boston Marathon has represented the strength of the human spirit. Now, along with One Boston Day and our permanent marker, we will continue to show the world what it means to be Boston Strong.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Councilor Edwards Releases Policy Brief on City Affordable Housing Programs

Report calls for updates to Linkage and Inclusionary Development Programs

Councilors Lydia Edwards, Chair of Boston's Housing and Community Development Committee, has released a policy brief (http://bit.ly/building4allbostonians) on two key city housing programs. Inclusionary Development requires certain developers to produce deed restricted units (for rental units, at up to 70% of the Area Median Income) or pay towards a fund that accomplishes the same purpose, and Linkage (also known as Development Impact Fees) generates funds for the Neighborhood Housing and Neighborhood Jobs Trust.

Boston's inclusionary development and linkage requirements are substantially lower than neighboring communities of Cambridge and Somerville. Inclusionary development in Boston is currently set at 13%, with up to 18% applying in certain areas, while Cambridge and Somerville have adopted 20% inclusionary requirements. In addition, many Boston renters, and Black and Latino households on the whole, tend towards income levels below those required by inclusionary development. Linkage, which in Boston applies to buildings over 100,000 square feet, is currently $10.81 / sq foot with $9.03 for housing. A 2016 "Nexus" study commissioned by the Walsh administration recommended increasing the housing portion to $16.08 - $21.39, depending on exemptions, for a total of $18.07 to $24.04. In January, Councilor Edwards filed legislation to implement the recommendations of the linkage Nexus study.

The report by Councilor Edwards calls for an array of updates to these programs, including:
  • Modeling 20% and 25% affordability standards for inclusionary development in Boston; 
  • Adopting new rental affordability measures to increase the affordability of deed-restricted properties, which may still be out of reach for many Bostonians;
  • Eliminating loopholes that allow developers to avoid affordable housing contribution "triggers," such as building numerous 8-unit or 9-unit buildings when 10-unit buildings are subject to inclusionary requirements
  • Evaluating decisionmaking on inclusionary development, which in most cities is done by the Mayor and City Council as opposed to by a quasi-public entity;
  • Improving data reporting to track beneficiaries of the inclusionary development program to facilitate city's efforts toward advancing racial equity;
  • Clarifying inclusionary development requirements for Planned Development Areas like Suffolk Downs; 
  • Promoting long-term affordability by dedicating a portion of inclusionary development funds to community-owned housing, such as community land trusts;
  • Adjusting Boston's zoning code to automatically update linkage and avert missed opportunities;
  • Updating state law to codify inclusionary development and modernize linkage.

Building for all Bostonians.png  


Table 1: Comparison of Inclusionary Development in Metropolitan Boston Municipalities

Municipality
Inclusionary %
Unit threshold
Authorization
Boston
13-18%, varies based on zones
10 units or more
Policy; cannot be adopted via zoning article or ordinance
Cambridge
20% citywide
10 units or more
Zoning Act + Ordinance
Somerville
20% citywide for large developments; 17.5% for 8-17 units; 6-7 units have option of building affordable unit or paying into fund
6 units, 8 units and 18 units each trigger deeper requirements.
Zoning Act + Ordinance
Quincy
10% citywide
10 units or more
Zoning Act + Ordinance

Table 2: Comparison of Development Impact Fees in Metropolitan Boston Municipalities

Municipality
Linkage
Exemption
Revision
Boston
$10.81 / sq foot
($9.03 for housing)
First 100,000 square feet
Can ONLY be changed every 3 years per statute, adjusted based on change to CPI.
Cambridge
$15.95/ sq foot, all housing
First 30,000 square feet
Automatically re-evaluated every 3 years; annual increase based on change to CPI.
Somerville
$12.46 / sq foot
($10 for housing)
First 30,000 square feet
Zoning ordinance requires 2020 study; annual increase based on change to CPI.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Mayor Walsh announces call to artists for permanent public art at new East Boston police station

BOSTON - Monday, March 25, 2019 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor's Office of Arts & Culture, in collaboration with the Boston Art Commission and Boston Police Department, today announced a call to artists to create a permanent piece of public art that complements a new police station in East Boston that was funded through Mayor Walsh's Imagine Boston 2030 Capital Plan.

"Incorporating public art into the construction of this new police station is exciting because it gives us the opportunity to make the building more welcoming, approachable, and reflective of the rich culture in East Boston," said Mayor Walsh. "Through the Percent for Art program, we will continue to make more public art available for people to enjoy all across the City of Boston."



This call to artists is part of the City of Boston's Percent for Art program, announced by Mayor Walsh in 2016, which sets aside one percent of the City's annual capital borrowing as a budget for the commission of public art. The City also has Percent for Art projects underway in Jamaica Plain and Roxbury.

The public art will be placed on the future new Area A-7 Police Station in East Boston, which recently received an investment of $29 million through the Mayor's capital plan for design and construction of a new 27,505 square foot station that will be situated at the intersection of East Eagle and Condor Streets. The new building will be welcoming to the community, while having a civic presence through public art.

"Any opportunity, be it through police work or art work, that allows the men and women of the BPD to expand their capacity to protect and serve our community members while drawing attention to and highlighting the accessibility of our neighborhood police stations, as well as the approach-ability of our hard-working police officers is most certainly a project that we want to participate in and fully support," said Police Commissioner William Gross.

Artists are encouraged to consider three key qualities of the East Boston neighborhood in their applications: its deep history within a wide variety of immigrant communities, its geographic location and how that has put it on the front lines of climate change, and its strong neighborhood identity and close-knit community.

"In a changing, diverse, and growing neighborhood like Eastie, public art can bring people together by communicating at several levels to several folks," said Kannan Thiruvengadam, director of Eastie Farm and an East Boston resident. "It can beautify space, make people stop, see, and wonder, and provoke thought and conversation."

The City has identified several potential sites for the artwork, including the entrance lobby, the community room, and three locations outside of the station. The project is expected to take approximately two years to complete.


A rendering indicating the locations identified as potential sites for the artwork.

This call to artists is open to all artists, artisans, architects, landscape architects, or teams with experience in public art, site responsive design, project management, and construction administration.

"This project is the perfect opportunity to showcase the power public art can have on uniting communities and fostering cross-cultural exchange," said Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture for the City of Boston. "I look forward to seeing how this project helps us reach a new level of creative problem solving and bridge the gap between law enforcement and local residents."

An Artist Selection Committee comprised of representatives from the Boston Art Commission and local arts professionals representing East Boston will review applications using criteria including experience, past work, knowledge of materials and their durability, experience working with multiple stakeholders, and how well the artist/team responds to the goals and community values outlined in the call.

The deadline to apply for the project is Thursday, April 25 at noon EST. To apply for the project, visit here.

About the Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture
The Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture's mission is to support artists, the cultural sector, and to promote access to the arts for all. The office houses the Boston Cultural Council, the Boston Art Commission, and the Poet Laureate program. Responsibilities include implementing the City's cultural plan, Boston Creates; commissioning public art, managing the Boston Artist-in-Residence program; curating exhibitions in City Hall; and operating the historic Strand Theater in Dorchester. For more information go to: www.boston.gov/departments/arts-and-culture

About the Boston Art Commission
The Boston Art Commission (BAC), an independent board of arts leaders charged with the care and custody of all artworks on City of Boston property, advocates for the creation of innovative and transformative art and promotes its accessibility to enrich the lives of Boston's diverse citizens and visitors. The Art Commission advises, supports, and consults with artists and communities, City departments, and others. It commissions, approves, and conserves the City of Boston's collection of art and historical artifacts. For more information, go to: www.publicartboston.com 

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Source: Mayor's Press Office  March 25, 2019; For more information please contact the Press Office at 617-635-4461