The Wharf District Council (WDC) held its June meeting on Tuesday, June 16, via Zoom. A number of notable reports and community updates were included as part of a full agenda.
Boston Police – Public Safety Report
Captain Fong, who is set to retire Friday, delivered his final active duty police report.
One International Place reported a robbery on May 23rd with an arrest made.
With the exception of the 711 on 103 State Street and a nearby sports apparel shop having their windows smashed, the Wharf District largely escaped any extensive damage amid the protests that took place on May 31st.
“It was an especially tough night,” Captain Fong acknowledged, going on to state that BPD is fully in support of the messages being expressed by peaceful protestors and the separate criminal actions causing injury to officers represent “a small number of troublemakers ruining it for everyone.”
No arrests have yet been made in the beheading of the Christopher Columbus statue at Christopher Columbus Park on the waterfront.
Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA)
BPDA Deputy Director Rich McGuinness provided updates on projects and plans.
Readers will recall that a repeat meeting for the Harbor Garage project was scheduled to take place following maxed out crowds at the first, which would have preceded a series of additional engagements. The COVID-19 outbreak, however, caused BPDA to place the Article 80 process on pause.
McGuinness emphasized that the continued suspension of activity is due to the fact that not everyone has the technological capability to attend virtually.
With both the Harbor Garage and Hook Lobster projects falling under Article 80, there have been no significant updates.
Hook Lobster’s development team had a pre-file meeting with the BPDA where the project design was found to be consistent with the Downtown Waterfront Municipal Harbor Plan (MHP).
Climate Ready Boston is set to release updated analyses for the North End/Waterfront within a month and will follow up with the WDC further down the line.
New England Aquarium
Chief Operating & Financial Officer Eric Krauss provided a New England Aquarium update.
Currently positioning to reopen in early July under Phase 3, Krauss stated that visitors can expect a mostly complete experience with some adaptations and exceptions. The Science of Sharks and Edge of the Sea exhibits will be closed, while events, catering, and cafe service will be coming online later depending on updates and guidance from State and health officials.
Ticketing will be pushed online with timed ticketing for both visitors and members. Capacity will be set at approximately 250 people for an approximate 80-minute visit, with all visitors above the age of 2 required to wear masks.
When asked by WDC Exec. Director Suzanne Lavoie if school groups will be allowed to schedule trips to the Aquarium, Krauss replied that it may be possible sometime in the future, but not right away.
State Street Renovation Project Progress Report
State Street Renovation Project Manager Ashley Biggins revisited the project which is set to begin in 2021, shared results from the ongoing survey, integration with the Healthy Streets Initiative and general impacts.
1,177 responses to the survey as of June 10th have provided feedback on top issues such as accessibility, safety, and achieving a balance between pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
Boston Harbor Hotel
General Manager of the Boston Harbor Hotel Stephen Johnston is awaiting final confirmation on whether the reopening of the hotel will take place on June 26th or at a later date.
Outdoor Dining & Wharf District/Waterfront Restaurants
Low foot-traffic may cause Fin Point and Tradesman Coffee to temporarily close their doors again, according to Peter Simonelli. By contrast, Cafe Amalfi on Battery Wharf has expanded outdoor dining options for breakfast and lunch.
Rob Caridad from The Chiofaro Company reported that The Palm has started offering outdoor dining.
Friends of Christopher Columbus Park (FOCCP)
FOCCP member Joanne Hayes-Rines reported that more than half of the hybrid roses didn’t survive the winter and are being replaced with zinnias and sunflowers. There will be no July 4th fireworks. Sunday night movies, which would normally debut on July 21st, may possibly be permitted pending further updates.
Hayes-Rines also commented on the ongoing Christopher Columbus statue controversy. A distinction was drawn between the FOCCP, the current Friends of Christopher Columbus Park organization founded in 2001, and the “Friends of Christopher Columbus Park Committee” referenced on the base of the statue erected in 1979.
FOCCP has agreed to help facilitate conversations, but believes that any final decisions must be community-based, choosing not to weigh in on either side.
Rose Kennedy Greenway
Marketing and Community Affairs Manager Rachel Lake reported fountains turning on across the Greenway. The New England Open Market will be returning on June 20th. Read more here.
Boston Harbor Cruises
Managing Director of Business Development Matthew Murphy reported MBTA ferries will resume operations on Monday, June 22nd operating at 25% capacity and under reduced schedules.
The Provincetown Ferry and water taxis could resume operating on June 26th pending official confirmation. All other ferries are expected to remain docked.
The next Wharf District Council meeting will take place on July 21, 2020.