August 13, 2004
Mr. Rich McGuinness
Boston Redevelopment Authority
Boston City Hall
Boston, MA 02201
In his decision on the Municipal Harbor Plan (MHP), Environmental Secretary Robert Durand anticipated that the City of Boston would convene "an advisory group that represents broad civic and cultural interests in the waterfront and citywide." Far beyond being called upon to fulfill a role in programming and raising visibility of the Waterfront, Durand envisioned that Boston's civic and cultural community should be partners in the major development decisions regarding Waterfront infrastructure.
As a number of projects move towards development in the Waterfront and along the Channel, the BRA will soon begin to administer Chapter 91 funds serving to mitigate public impacts of private development. A number of near-term projects, including those on Russia Wharf, Pier 4 and Fan Pier will create tremendous opportunities for a coherent civic and cultural expansion plan on the Waterfront. According to the BRA's Downtown Municipal Harbor Plan, Russia Wharf is expected to contribute an initial sum of $ 225,000 as mitigation of impacts.
I am writing to you to propose that the BRA convene a forum as anticipated in Secretary Durand's decision, inviting citywide civic and cultural participation in the expenditure of Chapter 91 mitigation funds. This group would consider each project in the development pipeline in the context of a comprehensive cultural/civic Master Plan, advising the BRA on the appropriate expenditure. To incentivise citywide participation, the BRA may consider using Chapter 91 mitigation funds to provide permanent below-market leases, in spaces that qualify as Facilities of Public Accommodation and available to organizations with qualifying civic and cultural uses.
A civic and cultural administrative body, working with the BRA, would balance the interests of the abutters groups and property owner-controlled organizations that exist today. This new advisory body could be tasked with approaching the City's mitigation investments comprehensively rather than directing funds on a parcel by parcel basis.
I look forward to hearing from you.
cc: State Senator Jack Hart
State Secretary Ellen Roy Hertzfelder, EOEA
Program Chief Ben Lynch, DEP
Boston City Councilor James Kelly
Ms. Susan Hartnett, BRA Dept. of Arts and Cultural Development
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