The following letter was sent this week to City Hall by the Boston Finance Commission, a watchdog group within the city system, regarding two issues related to the pending sale/swap of North and Richmond Street city properties to the North Bennet Street School. The agreement allows for the Eliot K-8 public school to expand into the existing NBSS buildings. (View the Boston Finance Commission letter here in pdf format.)
The Honorable Thomas M. Menino July 2, 2012
Mayor of the City of Boston
Boston City Hall, 5th Floor
Boston, MA 02201
Dear Mayor Menino:
The Finance Commission has been monitoring the impending sale of the city owned properties at 150 North Street and 130 Richmond Street. Recently we were informed that 128 North Street, a building attached to 150 North Street, is being vacated by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. Two issues have arisen from this information:
1. Though we have been told that the State of Massachusetts took ownership of 128 North Street from the City of Boston in the late 1950’s, a recent search of the City of Boston Assessor’s database shows 128 North Street as a City of Boston owned land parcel with no building. Curiously, the Assessor’s information further states that 128 North Street consists of 19,785 square feet of land, and yet has a 2012 assessed value of $3,362,400. The history of this property is complicated and needs to be completely researched. If the City of Boston is the owner and chooses to sell, the State of Massachusetts 30B process should be used and all revenue from the sale should be deposited in the City Treasury.
2. The City owns a parking area located in front of 150 North Street which must be addressed separately from the building issues. This parking lot, which has an approximate ten car capacity, was originally created to address potential street crowding issues when the Area A1 Police station was temporarily relocated to 150 North Street. After the Police vacated North Street, the B.R.A. leased the lot for parking of MassDot employees who worked at the 128 North Street building. Now that the employees will be relocated, it is time to repurpose these spaces. North End residents have long suffered with a lack of resident parking and congestion that clogs Hanover Street. Rather than creating another lease or selling this property, taxpayers would be better served by the B.R.A. transferring the lot to the care and custody of the Boston Transportation Department. A multi-space meter could be installed so that the spaces could become metered during business hours and become additional, desperately needed resident parking at night. Additional parking spaces will increase access to the North End which will help support local businesses, and will benefit the entire City of Boston in the form of new meter revenue and increased restaurant taxes.
The creation of the Greenway has transformed the North End and the City of Boston should work as partners to assure that interests of the residents are well protected during this period of change.
Very truly yours,
Matthew A. Cahill