Upham's Corner Online

Uphams Corner Westside Neighborhood Assoc Feb 2014

The Westside Neighborhood's February 2014 meeting began with the police report and included a presentation by Georgia Titonis, head librarian Uphams Corner branch.  Bob Haas, president, discussed the St. Kevin's development project based on a letter he received from the developers.  He stated he is willing to share select portions of the letter but was unwilling to share copies with the community because the letter had come to him personally.

UCWNAThe first item on the agenda was the police report provided by Community Services Officer, Marie Miller. 

Georgia Titonis, head librarian at Uphams Corner branch, presented an informative overview on what the library has to offer and how to take advantage of its services.  Many attendees were surprised at just how much the library makes available to the community.  She will be taking her "road show" to all of the neighborhood associations in the Uphams Corner area.

Because of the tragic MBTA bus accident on Monday, 2/10/14, residents discussed the difficulties of pedestrian crossing everywhere along Columbia Rd.  A representative from Public Works will attend the March meeting and the group is also hoping to get a representative from BTD - transportation.  One person said the safest place for pedestrians is in Cambridge where pedestrian crossing buttons will bring traffic to a halt in short order in all directions.  UC News has not verified this information. 

There is a for-sale sign on Bank of America and, according to Bob Haas, "They are playing hardball."  Members of the Main Street board are attempting to secure a meeting with the Bank to try to convince them to put something "better than another church" there.  The Bank is closing in March so time is of the essence.

St. Kevin's Development Project

The St. Kevin's project is going forward - 80 units of subsidized housing, all being developed in-house by the Archdiocese, owner of the property. The Planning Office for Urban Affairs (POUA) will be in charge of the development. Bob Haas received a letter from the Planning Office and passed on selective information he read from the letter.  No, he said, "I am not willing to share the letter."  He said he thought the contents would be broadcast everywhere.
  • Bilt-Rite Construction is the general contractor, located in Roxbury across from Victoria diner. They're also doing work on The Quincy St development project and have a reputation for high quality work. The president of the organization is John Sullivan.
  • A perimeter fence will be installed around the site to prevent entry by non-contractors.  That includes the homeless people that are still sleeping and congregating there.
  • Construction workers will be told they cannot park on the residential side streets. There's a fair amount of parking available on-site and public transportation can be arranged if necessary. 
  • The first couple weeks of construction will involve remediating asbestos from the buildings, mainly ones that are going to come down.
  • Once the remediation is complete, the convent and the building at the intersection of Davern and Columbia Rd will be taken down. Demolition will not begin for at least two months.
  • Total construction schedule is 17 months.
  • They will be providing regular updates to the neighborhood
  • Access to the site during construction will take place via the easement off Virginia Street until the convent is taken down. Then access will occur off Bird Street.
  • All of the units are subsidized.  There are no market rents.
  • The contractor is responsible for rodent control
  • During the blasting phase, the contractor will be videotaping the foundations of homes directly abutting property if the owners want that

Posted: February 11,2014   Nancy J Conrad

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