This story ran on page H06 of the Sunday Boston Globe on 12/10/2000.
© Copyright 2000 Globe Newspaper Company.


Waterfront honor roll

BOSTON GOT A better plan for the Fan Pier than the Menino administration and the developers originally proposed because of public interest groups that helped to make access to the waterfront an overriding concern of state regulators. The groups deserve recognition as they prepare for their next challenge: ensuring that the public benefits of the city-state agreement are fulfilled.

The nonprofit Boston Harbor Association, a longtime monitor of waterfront development, critiqued the Fan Pier plan from a position of seasoned expertise. It gained strength from the varied perspectives provided by its members, a mix of business people and waterfront activists.

The Boston Natural Areas Fund brought its proud record of open space preservation and expansion to the task of making sure the Fan Pier contained spaces that all the people of Boston and vicinity would find welcoming.

The Conservation Law Foundation provided the legal muscle to emphasize the importance of the state waterfront access law. CLF also pushed to get all city neighborhoods included in discussions about the future of this important site.

The Alliance of Boston Neighborhoods made sure that established community organizations were kept involved in the process. The Waterfront Information Network put special emphasis on the need for a master plan to maximize the use of public amenities. The critiques of state Senator Stephen Lynch and the South Boston Design Advisory Group showed that that the concerns of this neighborhood transcended linkage payments.

The Boston Society of Architects provided convincing alternative design visions for the waterfront. SAND (Seaport Alliance for a Neighborhood Design) added the perspective of the Fort Point community.

The Menino administration deserves credit for appointing a Municipal Harbor Plan Advisory Committee that was not a rubber stamp but included most of the public interest groups. When Bob Durand, the state secretary of environmental affairs, decided to press for an enhanced public realm in the plan, the committee provided the forum for an informed discussion of alternatives.

The text of the agreement between Mayor Menino and Durand was made public late last week. Waterfront advocates will be examining it to make sure it contains the offers made in the announcement. They should be watchful that the pledges of inside and outside public spaces are backed by solid financial commitments. The final development will fulfill its initial promise because of their continued vigilance.

This story ran on page H06 of the Boston Globe on 12/10/2000.
© Copyright 2000 Globe Newspaper Company.

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