For Mayor Walsh and Planning and Public Works colleagues;
This note enlarges on a letter I sent to the Mayor several months ago. I am a neighbor and a Beacon Hill resident, who was elected 50 years ago to represent this district; by which I mean, both sides of our meeting place, since back to Ward 3 – the North End, Charlestown, the business district, and part of the South End was joined together with Ward 5, which runs from the State House to Fenway Park.
Later on I had responsibility for the jail and the Suffolk County Sheriff’s department and was chairman of the Finance Commission and the old Metropolitan District Commission, fin ally being elected at Large to the Boston City Council.
During my MDC years we did a substantial amount of building, I point to one experience which may be helpful in the present circumstances.
When we realize that the old Charles River Dam could no longer handle the flooding and pollution problems of the Charles Basin, we were presented with plans by public architects and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for a large seven or eight story concrete building with rectangular lines and not much accommodation to other needs.
We assembled a design review committee of architects and landscape architects, headed by the Dean of the MIT School of Architecture. They served without pay and agreed to bid on the final project. They presented us with a rather fine brick building, with arches characteristic of the river bridges, a fish ladder for the little chaps who need to swim from harbor to Basin and back – and be admired by the public and the large parking lot for our employees became a much-needed public park.
The point is when dealing with something as visually important as our oldest neighborhoods – it is a good idea to enlist the help of some world-class experts, who fortunately abound in our area. Beacon Hill, The North End and Back Bay are the most visited parts of Boston, by folks from Japan, Spain, Holland and so forth. We need to be cautious of the things that bring them here – when they shop in local stores that pay their local taxes.
Mayor Collins said to me one day in Kenmore Square, pointing towards the harbor, that 2/3 of the City’s revenue came from that portion of the City.
I am myself disabled; but would gladly appreciate good looking ramps. There are some all over the place. I spotted some good ones near 73 Tremont this week. Lets get help from the experts at BC, BU, Harvard and other architects.
John W. Sears