BHCA Goes Virtual for 98th Annual Meeting

The Beacon Hill Civic Association’s 98th Annual Meeting took place virtually Monday night in lieu of the traditional gathering at the Union Club.

Rob Whitney, who was named chair of the organization at that time, took the opportunity to reflect on what the Civic Association had accomplished over the past year, including awarding its first round of Community Grant funds totaling $22,500 to support community projects and programs in December.

Last month, Whitney said he and Patricia Tully, executive director of the organization, also donated 250 protective masks, courtesy of the Civic Association, to residents of Beacon House, the Bowdoin School Apartment Homes on Myrtle Street, the Peter Faneuil House and the Anderson Park apartments at 250 Cambridge St., as well as to the Church of the Advent, which offers a free meal each Wednesday to the underserved. And the Civic Association has ordered 200 more masks to distribute throughout the neighborhood, Whitney said.

Also, the Civic Association’s various committees kept busy last year, Whitney said, including the Architecture Committee, which reviewed numerous applications, such as one submitted by ownership of the Beacon Hill Hotel & Bistro that aims to transform the street-level experience; the Zoning and Licensing Committee, which recently held its first-ever virtual meeting to review requested variances being sought by the owners of a proposed Charles Street bookstore; the Streets and Sidewalks Committee, which partnered with the city last year on a pilot program that brought plastic, collapsible trash bins to the neighborhood; and the Planning Committee, which continues to provide input on the planned expansion of Mass General Hospital.

The Civic Association had great success over the past year sending out 89 e-blasts to approximately 2,000 subscribers, which were viewed by 35 percent of recipients as opposed to the industry standard of 18 percent, Tully said.

While every previous year since the program’s inception in 1997, the Civic Association has awarded the Beacon Award in recognition of the recipient’s  “significant and sustained” contribution to the community at the annual meeting, the decision was made to postpone its presentation for now “so it can have the in-person attention it deserves,” said Eve Waterfall, who stepped down from her post as chair of the organization, but will remain on as a board member.

An appearance by the annual meeting’s scheduled featured speaker, Joseph Bagley, the city’s archeologist was also postponed, but Waterfall said the Civic Association would invite him back to speak in the future.

Meanwhile, Ben Starr, the Civic Association’s outgoing clerk, presided over the election of its officers for the upcoming year, including Whitney as chair; Meghan Awe as president; Andrew Kirk as treasurer; and Joshua Leffler as clerk.

While Starr and Emi Winterer are leaving their respective posts as clerk and treasurer, both will stay on as board members.

New incoming board members include Melanie Bertani, Patrick Lee and Ali Ringenburg, who also serves as co-president of the Beacon Hill Business Association, while Erik Erlingsson, James Ewing and Tim Pingree are stepping down from the board.

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