Monday, July 22, 2019

City letter to Commonwealth: Rescind Invitation to Bid for McLellan Highway



The following is the text of a letter sent today by Boston's Chief of Streets Chris Osgood to Secretary Stephanie Pollack, regarding the City's feedback on MassDOT's Invitation to Bid for the Railroad  Right of Way off of McClellan Highway. 


Secretary Stephanie Pollack 
Massachusetts Department of Transportation 
10 Park Plaza, Suite 4160 
Boston, MA 02116 

July 22, 2019 

Dear Secretary Pollack, 

We write to offer comments and a request with respect to MassDOT’s Invitation to Bid for the Railroad Right of Way off of McClellan Highway. 

As you know, the parcel of land that is the focus of this ITB parallels Route 1A and serves as a buffer between East Boston and Chelsea Creek. Consequently, this parcel presents important transportation and resiliency opportunities -- opportunities we want to thoroughly examine given the growth in East Boston and the region, as well as projections for sea level rise in the harbor. Moreover, as you are probably aware, the BPDA is currently in the process of a community driven, neighborhood-wide plan for East Boston (“PLAN East Boston”), for which transportation planning is a significant component. As written, the ITB does, in part, consider these transportation opportunities, particularly by requiring space for a shared use path and reserving the opportunity for the MBTA to use any future roadway infrastructure. 

We want to ensure, however, that this ITB does not preclude any critical opportunities. Consequently, we ask that you rescind this ITB, so that the State, the City, other municipalities and the community can discuss how this land can best meet our shared goals. 

This will give us the opportunity to engage the community and conduct an analysis on the ability of this land to improve mobility and resilience in the Route 1A corridor and have that analysis and engagement inform the next steps. We understand the effort that has gone into the ITB already by your team, and we will work with you on the next steps for planning and engagement with this parcel. 

We appreciate your consideration of this request. 

Sincerely, 

Chris Osgood Chief of Streets 


More on the Route 1A easement issue at eastboston.com

Monday, July 1, 2019

Boston Housing Authority Implements Small Area Fair Market Rents For Greater Boston Area

To expand opportunity and prevent displacement, BHA will apply the HUD’s Fair Market Rent formula by zip code

(BOSTON, July 1, 2019) –  Today, the Boston Housing Authority implemented a Small Area Fair Market Rent (SAMFR) policy, allowing more than 12,000 residents with federal Housing Choice Vouchers greater access to Boston area neighborhoods and towns.  The BHA, along with the Cambridge Housing Authority, are the first housing authorities in the Nation to voluntarily adopt the SAFMR standards.


Historically, housing authorities have been limited by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to one payment standard, known as Fair Market Rent (FMR), for each metropolitan area. However, under new HUD regulations, BHA can now adjust its payment standards for each zip code, more precisely matching the actual rental costs.   As a result, families will now have the choice to rent in areas that have historically been unaffordable with a voucher. This change affirmatively furthers fair housing goals and takes steps towards deconcentrating voucher families by providing expanded housing choices in Boston and the surrounding areas. 

"Our housing efforts have always been grounded by our fundamental belief that every person, regardless of their income, is deserving of a home," said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. "By implementing the Small Area Fair Market Rent policy for voucher holders, we are doubling down on one of the most important aspects of our fair housing efforts - the right for people to choose a place to live that works best for themselves and their families."      

The Federal Housing Choice Voucher Program, known as Section 8, is a program funded by the federal government to subsidize rent for low-income families and individuals across the United States. Voucher-holders pay approximately 30% of their income towards rent and utilities, and the federal government covers the rest for apartments up to a certain dollar amount.

Prior to this change the BHA payment standards for a two-bedroom apartment was $1914 for every zip code, city, and town in the Boston area, regardless of the actual cost of housing in individual neighborhoods. With only one payment standard for the entire region, voucher holders have been historically concentrated in low-income income areas, while failing to meet the needs of renters who may wish to pursue housing elsewhere. The new SAFMR will adjust the payment standards in all 236 zip codes in the Boston Housing Authority coverage area to more precisely match the actual rents in those towns and neighborhoods. For example, the implementation of SAFMR increases the two-bedroom payment standard in Brighton to $2600, in Newton to $2800, and in Framingham to $2200, making more neighborhoods accessible and affordable for BHA voucher holders.

“When the Section 8 Program was first created, it was designed to empower low-income people with the ability to choose where they want to live and raise their families.” BHA Administrator Bill McGonagle said. “By matching our Housing Choice Vouchers with the actual cost of rent in our communities, we hope to fulfill that promise.”

In setting its policy, BHA utilized current rental data to ensure that payment standards are high enough to prevent the displacement of voucher holders who wish to stay in their current neighborhood, but not so high that they would have the effect of artificially driving up rents for both voucher and non-voucher renters.

This year, BHA was able to secure approximately $28,000,000 in additional funding for vouchers after BHA, Cambridge and the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development initiated a rent survey and appealed the FMR. The survey demonstrated the need for a higher FMR after the previous HUD FMR rate lagged significantly behind the Boston region’s rising rental market. The new rate and additional funding allowed BHA to implement SAFMR without lowering the payment standards in some Boston neighborhoods.

A chart of the new 2019 payment standards by zip code can be found here.

This policy was submitted as an  amendment to the BHA’s 2019 Annual Plan Leased Housing Administrative Plan.  The policy change followed a public comment period and public hearing at the Copley Branch of the Boston Public Library.  The majority of comments were very favorable but the BHA did adjust some payment standards in response to comments related to concerns about actual rent levels in some communities and displacement. 

What we saw at Suffolk Downs on Saturday, June 29: The last weekend at the East Boston track










Friday, June 14, 2019

Following $4.7 million in improvements, Mayor Walsh reopens Noyes Park

BOSTON - Friday, June 14, 2019 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Boston Parks and Recreation Department this week celebrated more than $4.7 million in improvements to Noyes Park in East Boston during a Neighborhood Coffee Hour held on Wednesday, June 12. 

“Noyes Park has undergone major reconstruction and we are proud to share the results of the hard work that went into this project with the East Boston community,” said Mayor Walsh.  “The new and improved Noyes Park will be a place that children and families will enjoy for many years to come, and I want to thank everyone involved for bringing this great new park to life.”

Funded with a $4.7 million investment from Mayor Walsh’s Capital Plan, including a $400,000 Parkland Acquisitions and Renovations for Communities (PARC) grant and a $100,000 grant from Youth Lead the Change, site improvements include new LED sports lighting, a synthetic soccer/softball field, a fenced and irrigated baseball field with batting/pitching cage and covered player’s benches, a fenced and irrigated Little League field with scoreboard and covered player’s benches, a playground for ages 5 to 12 and 2 to 5 with rubber safety surfacing, a rope climber and dish swing, 2 to 5 play structure and tot swings, splash pad, two basketball courts, a walking loop and exercise station, new trees, and rain gardens.

Noyes Playground is one of the largest playgrounds in East Boston at 8.22 acres. The park has traditionally served baseball, softball, Little League, soccer, and as a playground.  The comprehensive renovation approach allowed the Parks Department design team to look at ways to separate uses while diversifying and providing additional uses within the park. This project was done in coordination with a tidal gate being installed by the Boston Water and Sewer Commission at Constitution Beach to stop tidal flooding from entering the site along Saratoga Street.

The Neighborhood Coffee Hours give residents a unique opportunity to speak directly with Mayor Walsh and staff from City departments about open space and other needs in their neighborhoods.  Through these discussions and a suggestion box at each site, Mayor Walsh looks forward to hearing how the City of Boston can improve upon local parks, public areas, and city services.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Steppingstone Foundation receives grant from Cummings Foundation; 169 East Boston among many students served

Steppingstone awarded $100,000: Boston Nonprofit receives Cummings Foundation Grant

BOSTON, MA — The Steppingstone Foundation is one of 100 local nonprofits to receive grants of $100,000 through Cummings Foundation “$100k for 100” program. The Boston-based organization was chosen from nearly 600 applicants during a competitive review process.

Founded in 1990, The Steppingstone Foundation is a non-profit organization that develops and implements programs that prepare under-served students for educational opportunities that lead to college success. Each year, Steppingstone provides 12+ years of academic and social-emotional support to nearly 1,600 Boston students from traditionally marginalized communities to help them get into and through college. Steppingstone is also a partner of Boston Public Schools. The program currently serves 169 students from East Boston.

“We are thrilled to be the recipient of a Cummings Foundation $100K for 100 grant and grateful for the consistent support it will provide us over the next several years,”  said Steppingstone President Kelly Glew. The $100K for 100 grant will benefit Steppingstone’s College Services program, which works to help Steppingstone Scholars successfully enroll in college, persist, and graduate by providing support during the college application and enrollment process, financial aid counseling, and one-on-one advising during the college years. 

The $100K for 100 program supports nonprofits based in and serving Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties, all areas where Cummings Foundation owns commercial buildings. “By having such a local focus, we aim to make a meaningful positive difference in the communities where our colleagues and leasing clients live and work,” said Joel Swets, Cummings Foundation’s executive director. “We are most grateful for the nonprofit organizations that assist and empower our neighbors, and we are proud to support their efforts.” 

This year’s grant recipients represent a wide variety of initiatives, including homelessness prevention, affordable housing, educational equity, violence prevention, and food insecurity. Most of the grants will be paid over two to five years. Steppingstone’s President Kelly Glew and Chief Advancement Officer Kate Wood recently joined approximately 300 other guests at TradeCenter 128 in Woburn to celebrate the $10 million inflow into Greater Boston’s nonprofit sector.

The complete list of 100 grant winners is available at CummingsFoundation.org


June 12: Mayor Walsh's Coffee Hour in East Boston and the Re-opening of Noyes Park


Monday, June 3, 2019

Mayor Walsh column: Investing in our next generation


by Mayor Martin J. Walsh


In 2015, we launched BuildBPS, a 10-year educational and facilities master plan that reflects a $1 billion commitment to our students. This plan is a promise to our young people that their schools will be equipped with the facilities, tools, and curriculum they need to succeed in today’s world. We have said many times that making sure our students have the best learning facilities available to them is a priority, and today we’re taking the next step to fulfill that promise: a planning and engagement process for school expansions and re-configurations. 


The majority of Boston's public schools were constructed before World War II, and many lack modern educational spaces like music and technology classrooms. There are also several different grade configurations, meaning that many students change schools several times before graduating from high school. We want to simplify things for families by offering single-transition pathways. Families have also told us that they want to see more K-6 schools in their neighborhoods, and this next step in the plan provides an opportunity to meet that need as well. 


The Boston Public Schools (BPS) recently announced updates to the BuildBPS plan. These include: modernizing school facilities; adopting two preferred grade configuration models of K-6/7-12 and K-8/9-12; increasing access to classroom seats in neighborhoods with the most need; addressing declining enrollment and sustainability in the few remaining middle schools serving grades 6-8; and facilitating greater equity of program placement to meet the needs of students with disabilities, English learners, and more.


Ensuring smooth transitions for students and families is a top priority and critical to expanding high-quality school options in all neighborhoods across our city. After years of analyzing school enrollment patterns and facility layouts and capacity, we are now asking for the community to get involved in the process by providing feedback to the following updates: 


A new 7-12 school at the site of the current McCormack Middle School on Columbia Point in Dorchester, which will combine programming with the Boston Community Leadership Academy (BCLA) in Hyde Park. This new, fully-renovated school will open in the fall of 2022 and will keep specialized programs from both schools, including those for English learners and students with disabilities. 

Expanding 17 elementary schools from grades K-5 to K-6, which includes five schools in South Boston and Dorchester in September 2020 (Dever, Perkins, Tynan, Everett, Clap); six schools citywide in September 2020; and six East Boston schools in September 2021.

Expanding middle-grade seat capacity in East Boston through possible expansion at East Boston High School while maintaining options at the Umana and McKay K-8 schools.





Purchasing property at 189 Paris Street in East Boston to construct a new school building to serve elementary grades, and at 249 Harrison Avenue in Chinatown for a new Josiah Quincy Upper School. 

Continuing to seek property near the Dorchester-Mattapan line to construct a new school building to address the need for elementary seats in the area.

Beginning a planning and engagement process leading to the reconfiguration of the Edwards Middle School in Charlestown, phasing out the grade 6-8 middle school in June 2021, and reconfiguring the school to expand pre-K and elementary grade capacity.

Continuing a planning and engagement process for schools in Allston-Brighton to address facilities challenges at the Jackson/Mann and Horace Mann schools.

Continue working with Grove Hall Alliance school communities (Burke High, Frederick Middle, Trotter K-8, King K-8, and Haynes Early Education Center) to review feeder patterns for the potential creation of a pathway for students.

All of these proposals advance the values of BuildBPS by ensuring that every student has access to a high-quality, 21st-century public education. Throughout this process, we’ll rely on the input of residents and BPS families. BPS will keep providing updates at bostonpublicschools.org/buildbps with more details on how the plan will affect them. I look forward to working with the community on these exciting changes. 

-30-

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Mayor Walsh, Boston EMS and Massport open new EMS Station in East Boston

Photo credit: Mayor's Press Office 
BOSTON - Wednesday, May 22, 2019 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today joined members of Boston EMS and Massport for a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the newly renovated Boston EMS Station at Logan International Airport.

Building on his commitment to improving emergency response times citywide, last year Mayor Walsh announced a second ambulance would be dedicated to East Boston, bringing additional capacity to serve the neighborhood's residents.

"This second ambulance will bring major benefits," said Mayor Walsh. "It will help EMTs move more quickly and efficiently throughout East Boston, increasing capacity if there is an emergency happening at Logan Airport. It will reduce response times for our residents who need immediate medical care, saving even more lives."

Under Mayor Walsh, citywide response times for Priority 1 calls were 6.3 minutes in 2018, down from 6.4 minutes in 2017. Boston EMS responds to more than 125,000 calls all across the city each year, 7,700 of those incidents are in East Boston.

"Boston EMS is a national leader in emergency medical services. And this opportunity to add additional resources to serve residents and visitors to the city of Boston with this new facility is an important one," said EMS Chief James Hooley. "We are happy to be here in East Boston today with Mayor Walsh and Massport."

Mayor Walsh, EMS and Massport collaborated on the expansion of the station at Logan to give EMS a permanent home which can serve not only the airport but the entire East Boston neighborhood.

Photo: Mayor's Office 

"At Logan Airport, we work collaboratively with Boston EMS, and when the City wanted to add a second ambulance to service East Boston, it only made sense that we upgrade and expand the existing facility," said Massport Acting CEO John Pranckevicius. "It is part of Massport's mission to be a good neighbor to our surrounding communities. This new facility will provide dividends to the growing East Boston neighborhood and to Logan Airport for many years ahead."

Mayor Walsh's FY20 budget includes additional resources to promote diversity in recruitment classes for the EMT City Academy program as well as resources for another Community Assistance Team, also known as Squad 80. Squad 80 is a two-person team that travels in an SUV and answers calls where patients have a low frequency of being transported to the emergency room. Squad 80 frees up city ambulances, making more ambulances available for priority calls that need to get patients to the hospital. It also connects people to our recovery or homeless services and other city programs.

The FY20-24 Capital Plan allocates an additional $375,000 for design and construction of a new EMS garage with staff amenities in the Seaport district. Both investments will allow the City's services to transform and expand as the City's population does the same.

Today's ribbon cutting falls in the middle of the 45th Annual National EMS week, a week designed to honor and celebrate the men & women who provide day-to-day lifesaving services.

About Boston EMS

Boston EMS is the primary provider of emergency medical services for the City of Boston and is a nationally recognized leader in the field of pre-hospital emergency medicine. The department leverages the latest advances in both medicine and technology to bring high-quality, compassionate care to the people of Boston. Boston EMS also plays a key role in the City's emergency preparedness efforts and provides community programming designed to educate the public about important health and safety topics.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Kiwanis Bike Safety Rodeo is this Saturday in East Boston (May 18)



The East Boston Kiwanis Club and Boston Police Department Station 7 invite East Boston youth and families to the annual Bicycle Safety Day Rodeo this Saturday, May 18, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, at the Salesian Boys and Girls Club parking lot, corner of Bennington and Byron streets.




The rodeo will feature free bike helmets for children, a chance to win a new bike, a bike safety check, refreshments and music, a Boston Police K-9 demonstration and other activities for kids.


For more information contact Leah at BPD District 7 Service office at 617-343-4752.





(File photographs courtesy of Kiwanis)

Guest column: Mayor Walsh on Capital Investment Plan: How we are investing in East Boston

By Mayor Martin J. Walsh

Every spring, we release our Capital Investment Plan which funds the critical improvements to our infrastructure and facilities in Boston over a five-year period. It is a reflection of our priorities, and is guided by the voices of over 15,000 residents who offered input for our citywide plan, Imagine Boston 2030. Our Capital Plan funds the essentials of community life -- our schools, streets, libraries, and parks, including climate and resilience projects. It’s a commitment to all those who call Boston home and to our future generations. 


Mayor Walsh in East Boston 2017 - Capital Plan
Mayor Walsh: File Photograph: EastBoston.com

Here in East Boston, we’re making investments across a wide range of projects, including parks and open space, streets and transportation, our schools’ infrastructure, and our delivery of City services. 

We know how vital parks and community spaces are to building community in your neighborhood, that’s why we are Investing in high-quality and accessible community and gathering spaces for our residents. $8.9 million will be allocated to complete the building renovation to the BCYF Paris Street pool. This renovation includes upgrades to the mechanical systems, bathrooms and locker rooms, along with the pool deck, lighting and entryway. One million will be used to convert the former Orient Heights branch library into a new senior center for East Boston’s older residents, giving them a place to gather, and connect with others. In addition, Noyes Park will be updated and rehabilitated using $4.8 million to update the play lot, courts, fields and lighting.

File Photograph: Courtesy Mayor's Press Office


We are also investing in the future of the infrastructure of East Boston, by funding high-quality facilities and infrastructure to better serve residents. Our biggest investment is $30 million to design and construct a new East Boston Police Station to aid in keeping the East Boston community safe. In addition, we are making a $3 million investment to rehabilitate the vital McArdle bridge. Finally, $2.2 million will be used for building repairs to the Engine 5 fire station. These improvements include a new roof and gutters, masonry work, window and door repairs, and drain improvements for the station. 


McArcle Bridge in East Boston, MA
The McArdle Bridge connecting Meridian Street to Chelsea. File photograph: EastBoston.com

We are investing in the future of Boston by funding our schools, with $900,000 for a new masonry project at the Adams School. This project will address needed repairs for the school.


We also know how vital it is to protect our city from the growing effects of climate change. That’s why we are investing $3.3 million in citywide climate resiliency planning efforts. This major investment includes Jeffries Point and Porzio Park in East Boston.

Now that we’ve submitted Boston’s budget, where do we go from here? First, to the City Council, where it will be reviewed and adjusted as necessary. After it’s gone through that process and secured approval, it will go into effect, starting in July 2020 and running throughout the next 12 months. We hope you will continue to provide your valuable input on what we as a city can do to raise up your community. If you’d like to learn more about the Capital Plan and how this budget was created, go to budget.boston.gov.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

East Boston Democrats elect convention delegates.

From the Ward 1 Democratic Committee:

At a meeting this morning, local Democrats eleted delegates to represent Ward 1 at the September 14, 2019 Democratic Convention in Springfield.

The following are ex officio delegates:

Michael Sulprizio, Ward Committee Chair
Adrian Madaro, State Representative 
Gabriela Coletta, State Committeewoman 
Carol Aloisi, Secretary Mass Democratic Party

The following 10 Females were elected:

Lydia Edwards
Susanna Starrett
Vicki Dzindzichashvili
Tania DelRio
Gladys Oliveros 
Sandra Nijjar 
Giordana Mecagni 
Margaret Farmer
Gail Miller
Alyssa Vangeli 

Female Alternates:

Joanne Fitzgerald 
Magdalena Ayed

The following 10 males were elected:

Aneesh Sahni
Kannan Thiruvengadam 
Brian Gannon 
Stephen Gingra 
Anthony Gesualdi 
Ricardo Patron 
Benjamin Downing 
Matthew Barison 
Adrian Velazquez
Jason Ruggiero 

Male Alternates:

Joseph Ruggiero 
Zachary Hallopeter

More about the convention here

May 23: Film and Lecture on the Queen Mary


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Walsh appoints Santiago as Commissioner of Veterans' Services for City of Boston

(BOSTON - Wednesday, May 1, 2019) - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the appointment of Robert Santiago as Commissioner of Veterans' Services for the City of Boston. Santiago will be the first Puerto Rican and LGBTQ Veterans' Commissioner in the City's history.

"I am proud to name Robert as the next Commissioner of Veterans' Services, taking on an important role by making sure veterans in our city are well-supported and know that their service to our country will always be appreciated," said Mayor Walsh. "Robert has proudly served our nation, and has shown through his work over the last three years that his commitment to serving our veterans in Boston is unwavering."

In 2016, Santiago joined the City of Boston as Deputy Commissioner at the Mayor's Office of Veterans' Services. Prior to joining the Mayor's Office of Veterans' Services, Santiago served 20 years in the Navy in diverse duty stations including sea duty on four warships; and overseas tours in Belgium, Puerto Rico, Panama, and Japan. Santiago participated in Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Eastern Exit, Enduring Freedom, and Iraqi Freedom. His final duty station was in Boston onboard America's Ship of State, the USS CONSTITUTION which is the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world. He retired from military service in 2008 while onboard USS CONSTITUTION.

"I am grateful to Mayor Walsh for this opportunity to serve the veterans of Boston," said Santiago. "I remain dedicated to promoting the Mayor's agenda to serving all veterans no matter the zip code, status, or orientation."

Santiago is on the Executive Board of the Massachusetts Veterans Services Officer Association and is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. Santiago is also a member of the leadership team for the Homes for the Brave initiative which is part of the Mayors' Challenge to end Veterans' homelessness. He currently resides in Jamaica Plain with his husband, Robert Torres.

Formerly led by Commissioner Giselle Sterling, the Mayor's Office of Veterans' Services strives to recognize and engage our veterans and their families; advocate for assistance in their time of need, and connect them with the services they've earned.

The primary program of OVS is known as Massachusetts General Law (MGL) Chapter 115 and facilitated through the local Veteran Service Officer. Chapter 115 acts as financial help for veterans experiencing homelessness and low-income Veterans and their families. These benefits also include military burial assistance, subsidies on medical expenses and the decoration of veterans' graves and hero squares for Memorial Day. OVS also hosts Operation Thank a Vet, a program for volunteers to canvass identified Boston Veterans to thank them for their service and share information about critical resources that are available to them from the city, state and federal government.

To date, an average of 10,000 veterans receives financial assistance each month from the Department of Veterans' Services in Massachusetts with approximately 450 from OVS, the most in the Commonwealth. Through the Operation Thank a Vet program, the City has spoken to over 1,500 veterans and thanked them for their service as well as informing them of critical City services and resources.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

ICA announces 2019 schedule for its East Boston Watershed

The ICA announces 2019 season schedule for the Watershed, the museum’s new seasonal space for art in East Boston

(Boston, MA—April 30, 2019) The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) opens the second season of the Watershed, with the U.S. premiere of Purple, an immersive six-channel video installation by acclaimed artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah (b. 1957, Accra, Ghana). East Boston residents and ICA members are invited to preview days at the Watershed on Thursday, May 23–Saturday, May 25. The Watershed opens to the general public on Sunday, May 26 (see detailed schedule below).

Accompanying the presentation of Purple will be large-scale maps of Boston Harbor in 2030, 2050, and 2070 that demonstrate rising sea levels using research and data from the City of Boston’s Environment Department and Greenovate Boston.

An installation of photographs by teens from the ICA’s digital photography programs will be on view in the Watershed’s Harbor Room highlighting their perspectives on East Boston.

The 2019 season features a wide range of programming, including a free talk with Watershed artist John Akomfrah; Aquí y allá: juntos a la mesa, a series of programs and activities on food, home, and community co-hosted by artist Evelyn Rydz and Eastie Farm’s Kannan Thiruvengadam; a Watershed family day held in conjunction with Eastie Week; and more.




Ticket reservations for the ICA Water Shuttle start May 7 for ICA Members and May 14 for the general public. Admission to the Watershed is always free, and Water Shuttle transportation between the Watershed and the ICA is included with the price of ICA admission, first come first served. Visit icaboston.org for schedule and to reserve tickets.

Exhibition

John Akomfrah: Purple
May 26–Sep 2, 2019
Co-commissioned by the ICA and making its U.S. premiere at the ICA Watershed, Purple is an immersive six-channel video installation by the acclaimed artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah (b. 1957, Accra, Ghana). Akomfrah draws from hundreds of hours of archival footage, combining it with newly shot film and a hypnotic sound score to address themes related to the implications of climate change across the planet and its effects on human communities, biodiversity, and the wilderness. Sited in the Watershed’s industrial building, Purple resonates deeply with the Watershed’s harbor location and its proximity to the current and historical maritime industries of the East Boston Shipyard and Marina. Symphonic in scale and divided into five interwoven movements, the film features various disappearing ecological landscapes, from the hinterlands of Alaska and the desolate environments of Greenland to the Tahitian Peninsula and the volcanic Marquesas Islands in the South Pacific. Purple conveys the complex and fragile interrelation of human and non-human life with a sense of poetic gravity that registers the vulnerability of living in precarious environments.

Artist Projects

Aquí y allá: juntos a la mesa
(Here and There: Together at the Table)
May 26–Sep 2, 2019
Artist Evelyn Rydz highlights the important role the common table can serve as a site for gathering and for nourishment. Since 2016, Rydz has invited over 250 women to partake in communal meals made of diverse stories through an ongoing multigenerational community project, Comida Casera—Spanish for homemade food or food from home. Participants in Comida Casera events share stories and a dish inspired by a person who had a meaningful impact on their connection to home. Through these simple and welcoming gestures, notions of home and community expand through food and storytelling.

Throughout the summer season, visitors will hear recorded stories collected at past Comida Casera events at Rydz’s lively table. A series of programs and activities on cultivating food, home, and community will be co-hosted by Kannan Thiruvengadam of Eastie Farm and the artist. Visitors will surround themselves with a collection of plants comprising a range of local edible species grown by Thiruvengadam, and reflect on our past, present, and future relationship with food sources. During non-event days/times, visitors are invited to share their stories on cards provided for others to read and reflect on.

Summer 2019 activations of Aquí y allá*

Transplant Tales
Sat, Jun 15, 2:30 PM
Stories of transplantation experiences; hosted by Eastie Farm.

Solstice Stories
Sat, Jun 22, 2:30 PM
Inspired by the summer sun, farmers share their stories; hosted by Eastie Farm.

Recetas de casa
Sat, Jul 20, 2:30 PM
Visitors share recipes in this community event with artist Evelyn Rydz.

Green Walk/Camino Verde
Sat, July 27, 2:30 PM
A walking tour of community gardens; hosted by Eastie Farm.

Cosecha Comida (Harvest Food)
Sat, Aug 3, 2:30 PM
Exploring harvesting stories; hosted by Eastie Farm.

Eco-walk
Sat, Aug 17, 2:30 PM
Meet at the ICA’s Seaport location and tour the Greenway with conversation about climate and community; hosted by Eastie Farm.

Garden Taste
Sat, Aug 24, 2:30 PM
Local chefs discuss their use of local food sources. 

*Dates/times subject to change

Teen Perspectives: A Community in Focus
May 26–Sep 2, 2019
This installation of photographs created by teens from the ICA’s digital photography programs highlights their perspectives on East Boston—home for many of them. This initiative was an opportunity to highlight their daily observations and discover new neighborhood sights. Individuals associated with East Boston’s Atlantic Works Gallery, Eastie Farm, and Zumix guided the photographers to favorite sights, introduced them to community members, and shared stories about themselves and the neighborhood. The ICA provided teens with digital cameras to document the people and places, which helped them to gain a better understanding of placemaking and of East Boston’s past and present, and to imagine the neighborhood’s future and their own place within it. Many of the teens continued this exploration on their own time, with cameras in hand. Says ICA Teaching Artist Marlon Orozco, “>From exploring the waterline art installations to public gardens, our teens went beyond the lens.”

The ICA offers a variety of programs for teens in schools and neighborhoods throughout the city, including East Boston. Please visit icateens.org to learn more about these programs and to view additional artwork in a range of media.


Public Programs

The Artist’s Voice: John Akomfrah
Thu, May 23, 7 PM
At the ICA’s Seaport location
Artist John Akomfrah joins Eva Respini—the ICA’s Barbara Lee Chief Curator—in a public conversation on the making of Purple, a monumental, multi-screen film installation at the ICA Watershed. Purple seamlessly pairs archival footage with original material shot in 10 different countries. The end result is a timely and poetic response to the state of the world we share. Join Akomfrah and Respini as they provide additional context to this ambitious installation and its undeniable relevance situated within Boston’s active harbor. Event is free, but tickets are required. Please note: this talk will be held at the ICA’s Seaport location in the Barbara Lee Family Foundation Theater.

Gallery Talk: Marlon Orozco and Betsy Gibbons
Sun, Jun 9, 2 PM
The ICA Teens spent time in East Boston, exploring the area and interacting with community members. The result of this endeavor is A Community in Focus: East Boston, an exhibition that features twelve captivating photographs by nine youth artists. Join Marlon Orozco, ICA’s teaching artist, and Betsy Gibbons, Director of Teen Programs, as they discuss the process of working on the exhibition with young people, and learn more about the show from the artists themselves.

Watershed Family Day
Sat, Jul 13, 12–4 PM
Join us as we celebrate Eastie Week with a special family day event at the Watershed featuring art making activities, pop-up dance performance by Veronica Robles Culture Center, tours in English and Spanish, food, music, and fun! Community partner Maverick Landing Community Services will be on hand, as well as our Shipyard neighbors Windy Films and Downeast Cider. Add a boat ride in the mix with the purchase of an ICA admission ticket for round-trip Water Shuttle service between East Boston and the Seaport. Admissions tickets can be purchased online starting July 5—purchase ahead to reserve your time slot for the Water Shuttle.

Tours

ICA Watershed en español
Jun 8, Jun 22, Jul 13, Jul 27, Aug 10, Aug 24 1 PM 
Acompañe a un educador bilingüe del ICA el segundo y cuarto sábado de cada mes para realizar una visita guiada gratuita en español en el Watershed del ICA. Estas visitas guiadas dialogadas incluirán una introducción a la historia del Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina y John Akomfrah: Purple. No se requiere inscripción previa.

Join an ICA educator on the second and fourth Saturday of the month for a free tour in Spanish at the ICA Watershed. These conversational tours will include an introduction to the history of the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina and John Akomfrah: Purple. No pre-registration is required.

ICA Watershed Public Tours
Saturdays, June–Aug, 1:30 PM
Learn more about the ICA Watershed and John Akomfrah: Purple during these free, conversational tours led by volunteer tour guides at the ICA. No pre-registration is required.

About the Watershed

On July 4, 2018 the ICA opened to the public its new ICA Watershed expanding artistic and educational programming on both sides of Boston Harbor—the Seaport and East Boston. Located in the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina, the ICA Watershed transformed a 15,000-square-foot, formerly condemned space into a vast and welcoming space to see and experience large-scale art. The Watershed builds upon the extraordinary momentum achieved by the museum since opening its visionary waterfront building, designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, in 2006. Admission to the Watershed—central to the museum’s vision for art and civic life—is free for all.

Watershed hours

Tuesday + Wednesday, Saturday + Sunday: 11 AM–5 PM
Thursday + Friday: 11 AM–9 PM
Closed on Mondays, but will be open for special community days on Memorial Day and Labor Day.

About the ICA

Since its founding in 1936, the ICA has shared the pleasures of reflection, inspiration, imagination, and provocation that contemporary art offers with its audiences. A museum at the intersection of contemporary art and civic life, the ICA has advanced a bold vision for amplifying the artist’s voice and augmenting art’s role as educator, incubator, and convener for social engagement. Its innovative exhibitions, performances, and educational programs provide access to contemporary art, artists, and the creative process, inviting audiences of all ages and backgrounds to participate in the excitement of new art and ideas. Spanning two locations across Boston Harbor, the ICA offers year-round programming at its iconic building in Boston’s Seaport and seasonal programming (May-September) at the Watershed in an East Boston shipyard.

The ICA is located at 25 Harbor Shore Drive, Boston, MA, 02210. The Watershed is located at 256 Marginal Street, East Boston, MA 02128. For more information, call 617-478-3100 or visit our website at icaboston.org. Follow the ICA at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART / BOSTON
25 Harbor Shore Drive
Boston MA 02210
info@icaboston.org

Sunday, April 28, 2019

May 11: Boston Ward 1 (East Boston) Committee to Elect Delegates to Democratic State Convention

(EAST BOSTON, April 26, 2019) Registered Democrats in Boston Ward 1 will hold a caucus on Saturday, May 11th at 10:00am at the Salesian Boys and Girls Club, 150 Byron Street,  to elect delegates and alternates to the 2019 Massachusetts Democratic State Convention.

This year’s state convention will be held September 14th at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, where thousands of Democrats from across the state will come together to discuss Party business and celebrate our successes as we prepare for upcoming elections.

The caucus is open to all registered and pre-registered Democrats in Boston Ward 1. Pre-registered Democrats who will be 16 by May 11, 2019 will be allowed to participate and run as a delegate or alternate. Boston Ward 1 can elect 20 delegates and 4 alternates to the Convention.

Youth, minorities, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ individuals who are not elected as a delegate or alternate may apply to be an add-on delegate at the caucus or at www.massdems.org.

Those interested in getting involved with the Boston Ward 1 Democratic Committee should contact Michael Sulprizio at 617-438-0952 or you can also follow the Ward Committee on Twitter @ward1demsEB or “Like” us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ward1dems/


Friday, April 26, 2019

Mayor Walsh issues 1,000 new Section 8 vouchers for Boston families and residents

Vouchers will provide housing assistance to Boston chronically homeless individuals and families

BOSTON - Friday, April 26, 2019 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh together with the Boston Housing Authority and local shelter providers yesterday gathered in Roxbury to announce the release of 1,000 new rental housing vouchers for chronically homeless residents and families in Boston. The vouchers are funded through the federal Housing Choice Voucher Program through the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, and will increase the BHA's portfolio of vouchers to 13,500.

"I am incredibly proud that through these 1,000 rental housing vouchers we'll be able to provide more residents and families with a home," said Mayor Walsh. "These vouchers are more than a rent subsidy -- they represent a foundation for stability, support and self-sufficiency. We will continue working together to create these homes for our residents and be a city where every single person matters and every single person is cared for."

Through partnerships with DHD and DHCD and the network of shelter providers and service providers, voucher holders will receive housing search assistance, funds for relocation, and stabilization services for at least six months.

"These vouchers not only help homeless residents and families find permanent affordable housing, they offer them the stability they need to pursue new opportunities and better their lives," said BHA Administrator Bill McGonagle.

The BHA will issue the 1,000 new vouchers through the Coordinated Access System referral program, the Rapid Rehousing program, the Moving On program, and the Leading the Way Home Program.

Rapid Rehousing is a form of supported housing designed to rehouse families who have recently become homeless. Moving On is a program that will assist formerly chronically homeless tenants who currently occupy traditional housing that has supportive services, and are no longer in need of those services, transition to independent housing. The  Coordinated Access System was developed under the Mayor's Action Plan to End Veteran and Chronic Homelessness and prioritizes matching the most vulnerable homeless individuals, including veterans, youth and young adults and long-term chronically homelessness individuals to housing opportunities. Leading the Way Home is a form of supported housing designed to help families transition out of emergency shelters by offering 18 months of supportive services focused on stabilization and self-sufficiency, along with Section 8 rental assistance.

In addition to the tenant-based Housing Choice Vouchers, the BHA will offer up to 150 project-based vouchers to preserve affordability in developments subsidized through the expiring Mass Housing 13A mortgage program. 13A developments may use these vouchers to help tenants remain in their homes and prevent any risk of homelessness.

BHA was able to secure approximately $28 million in additional funding for vouchers this year after they initiated a rent survey and appealed HUD estimates for Fair Market Rent (FMR) in the Boston area last fall. The survey demonstrated the need for a higher FMR, which sets the payment standard housing authorities can set for voucher-subsidized rents, and determines subsidy levels for voucher holders. The previous HUD FMR rate lagged significantly behind the Boston region's rising rental market. The new rate and additional funding will allow BHA to issue at least 1000 new housing vouchers. The BHA last issued new vouchers in late 2017.

"The Section 8 voucher provided me with the ability to find a place for my children and I to call home. With this new stability, I have been able to maintain a decently paying job along with childcare for my children." said Paulina Morillo, a voucher holder from Dorchester. "These vouchers will do the same for many families like mine."

In addition to today's announcement, Mayor Walsh last week announced his FY20 recommended budget, which includes $4 million to support the creation of approximately 50 new units of permanent supportive housing each year. Creating new permanent supportive housing is a critical component of Boston's Way Home, the City's action plan to end veteran and chronic homelessness in Boston.

In addition, the FY20 recommended budget includes $1 million to provide connections to employment, rental assistance and supportive services for youth, building on the City's action plan to support young Bostonians experiencing homelessness. These funds will help support early identification and outreach, increase access to effective supports, and develop a collaborative system to create pathways to opportunity for those experiencing homelessness. This investment is in addition to a $4.9 million Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program grant from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The FY20 budget proposal also includes a $300,000 investment that will fund four formerly homeless individuals to work as peer navigators across Boston shelters to connect individuals currently experiencing chronic homelessness with permanent housing pathways. Peer housing navigators will help clients with their housing applications, gathering documentation needed for housing, and mentoring others as they transition from homelessness to housing.

Earlier this week, Mayor Walsh celebrated a $30 million capital investment to revitalize Boston Housing Authority's Bunker Hill Housing development in Charlestown, the first time in the City's history that City bond dollars have been invested directly into a BHA project.

Photo credits: EastBoston.com

Sumner Tunnel: Overnight full closure on the evenings of April 30 and May 1

Department of Transportation - East Boston notice
BOSTON - The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has announced that the Sumner Tunnel in Boston will be closed to all vehicular traffic during the overnight hours of 11 p.m., through 5 a.m., on the evening of Tuesday, April 30, as well as the evening of Wednesday, May 1.

These off-peak overnight closures are necessary to allow crews to safely and effectively conduct routine sign installation and roadway repairs. During these overnight hours, all vehicular traffic seeking to access the Sumner Tunnel wi

ll be detoured to the Ted Williams Tunnel.

Drivers traveling through the affected areas should expect delays, reduce speed, and use caution. All scheduled work is weather dependent and/or may be impacted due to an emergency situation.

For more information on traffic conditions travelers are encouraged to:

  • Dial 511 and select a route to hear real-time conditions.
  • Visit www.mass511.com, a website which provides real-time traffic and incident advisory information, and allows users to subscribe to text and email alerts for traffic conditions.
  • Follow MassDOT on Twitter @MassDOT to receive regular updates on road and traffic conditions.
  • Download MassDOT’s GoTime mobile app and view real-time traffic conditions before setting out on the road.

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