In a unanimous vote of 26-0, North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA) voted to oppose the proposed 10-year extension of urban renewal powers by the Boston Redevelopment Authority. [See BRA Seeks to Extend Urban Renewal Powers]. Joining with the Alliance of Downtown Civic Organizations (ADCO), NEWRA President Ford Cavallari presented an anti-urban renewal letter that will be sent to Mayor Walsh and the Boston City Council.
The letter asks for a delay of the BRA request seeking a ten year extension of urban renewal powers impacting 14 zones across the city, including the North End waterfront. The delay would allow for the City’s current planning project, Imagine Boston 2030, to be completed before the BRA urban renewal extension is considered. The Boston City Council will have a working session on September 15th and is expected to vote on the issue in October.
Urban renewal zones give the BRA added power to take property and create special taxation among other redevelopment actions. “The BRA’s director Brian Golden has gone on a roadshow presentation to make the case that instead of urban renewal (of blighted areas), we’re (i.e., the BRA) trying to create vibrancy,” said Cavallari at the NEWRA meeting held on September 10, 2015 in Boston’s North End. “We don’t buy it,” he added in a discussion that questioned the need for such powers in today’s Boston.
Cavallari made it clear that this effort does not propose eliminating the BRA, but rather delays the extension until the Imagine Boston 2030 citywide planning process is complete. NEWRA member, Nicki Rafter, thanked Cavallari for his leadership on the issue and said, “I don’t want the BRA creating vibrancy anywhere near me.”
View the video above for the complete discussion and vote. At 14:00 in the video, NEWRA President Cavallari reviews the main points behind the anti-urban renewal letter.