The Boston Redevelopment Authority is hosting a meeting regarding a proposal to build apartments at the long-vacant property at 99 Tremont Street, just outside Oak Square. It will be held Wednesday, June 25 at 6PM at the Presentation School Foundation, 640 Tremont Street, Brighton. The property has been an empty lot since a fire destroyed the previous building in 1979. If I remember correctly, at least one of the displaced tenants was part of Boston-based band The Cars.
Take a walking tour of Brighton’s Oak Square neighborhood on Saturday, May 31 from 10AM to 12 noon. Charlie Vasiliades will be your guide, giving you an overview of the history and landmarks of the square, followed by a hike up Nonantum hill, meandering to the EF Language school property, and ending with a picnic at Chandler’s Pond. You can sign up here:
The event is sponsored by Common Boston and several other organizations.
Mayor Marty Walsh is making a move in Brighton. His first “Mondays with the Mayor” will be held this Monday, March 24 at 20 Warren Street, home of Another Course to College, formerly known as the Taft Middle School. It is a town hall format, so ask your questions, bring your perspective, but please leave your soapbox at home.
The Skating Club of Boston wants to relocate from its current site on Soldiers Field Road to the corner of Everett and Lincoln Streets. So far, the plan has not gotten a good reception from the neighborhood. The State Police are renovating their property on the same roadway, but will set up shop temporarily at 46 Leo Birmingham Parkway. All this and more at the Brighton Allston Improvement Association’s meeting at 7PM Thursday, March 6. Location and details here.
Adam at Universal Hub lists blaring music from the outdoor speakers at Our Lady of Fatima Shrine in Brighton as “Citizen Complaint of the Day.” The chapel is located on the former St. Gabriel’s Monastery property on Washington Street. It must be pretty loud, or someone has sensitive ears, since it is set well back from the street and not near any homes.
Plans presented at last week’s meeting on possible construction at 128 Newton Street, Brighton did not go over well, based on what I heard from people who attended. The plan involves two single-family homes at 128 Newton Street, two more singles on Bigelow Street at the foot of Hardwick Street, and smack in the middle, a five-story, twenty unit condominium building. So far as I know, the developer, Nartan Valbandian, has yet to submit any plans or letter of intent to any city agency. It’s too much crammed into an odd site. Not every corner of every lot is buildable. Keep the single families, maybe add a couple more, but get rid of the condo building.
The venerable Palace Spa, 419 Washington Street in Brighton Center, is seeking a license to sell beer and wine. It’s not clear if this is for retail sales or on-premise consumption. These days the place is an amalgam of convenience store, cigar shop and keno hall. They will present their plans to the Brighton Allston Improvement Association tonight at 7PM. As always, the meeting will be at the Elks, 326 Washington Street, Brighton. The rest of the agenda is here, although the presentation by Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly for a possible development on Chestnut Hill Avenue has been canceled. Still up, a preliminary discussion for an apartment building at 1650 Commonwealth Avenue, currently the home of a gas station and Cumberland Farms.
Allston Brighton gave a 894 vote margin to John Connolly in the race for mayor that was won by Marty Walsh. Connolly garnered 5097 votes (54.8%) to Walsh’s 4203 votes (45.2%), winning all but three of the twenty-six precincts. Walsh won three: 22-1 and 22-2 (North Allston) and 22-12 (roughly, Brighton’s Faneuil Square area), but by less than a dozen votes in each. Those narrow margins played out in many sections of the community, with Connolly only hitting 55% or above in four of Ward 22’s precincts. His margins were better in Ward 21, but even there, it was an edge of ten or fewer votes in three precincts. Usually, the residents of senior housing in Ward 21 vote en masse for one candidate, but that vote split this time.
Four years ago, Tom Menino had his worst showing in a final election in Allston Brighton. He won Ward 22 by a mere 58 votes, while Ward 21 put him up by 705, due to the big margins he racked up in any section with senior housing.
WBUR has a nifty map of yesterday’s results.
Congratulations to Marty Walsh and kudos to John Connolly for their dedication and hard work.
OK, a few people do. A mere 399 – yes, that is three digits, three hundred and ninety-nine – actually pay for a paper. This week, on page A2, the print run was reported, and 399 was the sad number. Now remember there are about 75,000 residents in Allston-Brighton. As a separate town, we would constitute the 14th largest city in Massachusetts.
Why do 399 people buy it? There are a few items. Featured in a press release, Linda, a “Sweet, flirtatious” cat is up for adoption at the Gifford House animal shelter. There is another press release about those aged 90-plus at Covenant House at 30 Washington Street. And don’t forget, “Send in your fall foliage photos!” We all know how our neighborhood becomes clogged with leaf-peepers this time of year.
Based on the election returns, there are 6556 residents who cared enough to vote for mayor three weeks ago. That’s 6157 more than pick up the shabby sheets labeled the Allston Brighton TAB. Maybe more people would vote if we had a paper that was paying attention.
Spend some time Columbus Day discovering the candidates. The next mayor of Boston will be in our neighborhood tomorrow, October 14. Both Marty Walsh and John Connolly will be campaigning here. Walsh will take questions at one of his “Mondays with Marty” forums at 8 PM at the Brighton Marine Health Center, 77 Warren Street. Connolly is hosting a meet and greet from 6 to 8PM at the Stockyard Restaurant, 135 Market Street. Thanks to John Laadt of the Walsh campaign for letting me know about their event, and thanks to the Hobart Neighborhood Association for their tip about the Connolly appearance.
Charlie Vasiliades, also known as the Mayor of Oak Square, was interviewed by WBUR about the race to replace that other mayor, Menino. Charlie brought up all the points that are important to the entire Allston Brighton community, as well those specific to Oak Square. Keeping the square’s library and fire station open, the need for quality schools to keep families, the plague of poorly maintained, absentee-owned property that afflicts the neighborhood.
In the last few days canvassers for both John Connolly and Marty Walsh were on my doorstep, Marty represented by his cousin. I raised the issue of keeping the Faneuil library branch open. It would be great if the two candidates could address this.
Did I post too soon? A mayoral race that has been somnolent locally has now shown signs of life. The Ward 21 Democratic Committee has endorsed City Councilor Michael Ross for mayor. Ross currently represents District 8, comprised of Beacon Hill, Back Bay, Fenway and Mission Hill. A mayoral forum sponsored by a plethora of local groups (Allston Board of Trade, Brighton Board of Trade, Brighton Allston Improvement Association) will be held at WGBH this Tuesday night. Today, Representative Marty Walsh of Dorchester opened a campaign office in Oak Square. John Connolly, currently a city-wide councilor, is hosting a meet and greet this Thursday. And finally, a volunteer for City Councilor and mayoral aspirant Felix Arroyo, Jr. informs me she knocked on my door when I wasn’t home and left literature that I must have missed. So things are happening, but the general topic is still the heat of the summer rather than the political temperature.
This year’s mayoral race, the first time there has not been an elected or interim mayor seeking to hold on to the office in thirty years, hardly seems to exist in Allston Brighton. There are few yard signs, and even those have not been up long. I have yet to receive a single piece of mail, flyer or phone call from any candidate, despite the fact that I am as reliable a voter you will find.
Locally, the Ward 21 Democratic Committee has, to its credit, hosted candidate forums and posted the responses of the candidates to their questionnaire. But is is a far cry from the frenzy of activity in 1983 or even 1993, when Menino scored his first mayoral victory.
There are some reasons for this, I think. The staff cutbacks and circulation decline experienced by the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald are part of it. Boston political news no longer gets much attention on the main local television stations. We no longer have a local newspaper of any significance. The 1983 campaign also was the first year for district representation, with a horde of candidates knocking on doors for both city council and school committee seats. Some of the mayoral candidates had local offices (David Finnegan and Mel King during the preliminary, Ray Flynn joined Mel for the final, not sure of any others.)
It takes an enormous amount of organizing to engage people to vote in any Allston Brighton election. The Elizabeth Warren campaign did an outstanding job last year, but had the advantage of turnout that was also driven by interest in the presidential race, as well as intense attention to her battle with Scott Brown from both local and national media.
The BAIA has a full agenda for tomorrow night, with two candidates for mayor, Charlotte Golar Richie and Mike Ross making their pitch, as well city council at-large hopeful Doug Wohn, along with an array of zoning and licensing issues. Among them: building a single-family home at 53 Gerrish Street; Domino’s request to allow deliveries until 3AM at their location on Washington Street near Lake Street; and an update on the development proposal for the former Circle Cinema site in Cleveland Circle. More detail here, stop by 326 Washington Street at 7PM tomorrow, meetings are open to everyone.
Rob Consalvo, candidate for mayor, and Michelle Wu, candidate for at-large city council, will be speaking at the BAIA meeting this Thursday, May 2. Also on the agenda is a proposal for building two 3-family townhouses at 165 Everett Street and a request by Dunkin’ Donuts the closing hours at their 1955 Beacon Street, Cleveland Circle location. The meeting will be at 326 Washington Street, starting at 7PM.