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Community Update from City Councilor Lydia Edwards

City Councilor Lydia Edwards gave a community update on February 14th to the North End / Waterfront Residents’ Association (NEWRA). Follow along with the above video and this summary timeline.

(00:50) Community Preservation ActThe senior affordable housing at Knights of Columbus Hall and flooding mitigation at Langone Park were two of 56 projects in the North End supported by Councilor Edwards that Mayor Walsh has recommended for funding. (1) $1,960,500 is being recommended to the Knights of Columbus to convert their 41 N. Margin St. building into 23 affordable housing apartments for seniors, including three units of housing for homeless seniors and a neighborhood meeting space. (2) $1,000,000 is being recommended to add sea level rise mitigation features to Langone Park to prevent flooding and create a resilient waterfront as part of the City’s Resilient Boston Harbor and Climate Ready Boston.

(02:30) Clean Streets Initiative – Spearheaded by Councilor Edwards, a new effort is emerging to fund additional hokeys in the North End. Setup as a voluntary BID (business improvement district), funds will be solicited by a local non-profit for the program. Edwards reports that an initial meeting was well received with thousands of dollars already pledged for the effort. Notably, the Clean Streets initiative will supplement, not replace, the existing hokey effort provided by City of Boston Public Works.

(07:00) As the city’s budget season approaches, the Councilor is advocating for additional funding related to overall cleanliness, rodent control and traffic enforcement. She also noted that lowering the curb at the Bova’s corner is still high on the list of “to-do” items.

(09:50) Real Estate 6% Transfer Tax – Councilors Edwards, along with Councilor Janey, have proposed a Home Rule Petition to combat housing speculation and establish an investor and commercial property transfer fee. Proposed at 6%, the tax is aimed at generating affordable housing funds and to discourage “flipping”, the rapid resale of properties.

(16:00) Mercantile Wharf Building – Located on Atlantic Avenue and one of the affordable housing projects in the North End, the Mercantile Building’s affordable status is expiring after 40 years of federal deed restriction. The Councilor’s office is working with city housing agencies to prevent displacement of current residents. Edwards also highlighted the situation as an example of how public funding could be used to preserve affordable housing.

Resident questions regarding clean streets and traffic control begin at the 18:00 minute mark in the above video presentation.