The Wharf District Council (WDC) held its September meeting on Tuesday, September 15th via Zoom. A number of notable reports and community updates were included as part of a full agenda.
Update From State Representative Aaron Michlewitz
Unpacking issues related to the state budget in his capacity as the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz spoke candidly in discussing the Commonwealth’s police reform bills, the 2050 roadmap bill for climate change, the $459 million economic growth bill and other Wharf District issues.
WDC Executive Director Susanne Lavoie asked what resources exist for Wharf District businesses associated with tourism. Michlewitz pointed to previous rounds of grant relief offered by the Mass Development Corporation Council, but admitted that any major long-term relief would have to come from the federal government with additional measures serving as “bandaids on big issues.”
WDC member John Larivee wondered what role the Commonwealth’s rainy day fund could play in helping to address and potentially ameliorate budgetary impacts. Michlewitz responded that it would certainly be “part of the equation” and later acknowledged, “we’re being very careful with that rainy fund, but it is raining and we have to use it.”
John Romano, Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services:
North End/West End Neighborhood Liasion John Romano briefed the WDC on some important City of Boston updates:
- The Boston Police Task Force draft recommendations.
- RFP announced for small business and technical assistance programs.
- Outdoor dining extended to December 1st.
BPDA Design and Use Guidelines Update
Chris Busch from the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) discussed the Design and Use Guidelines for the Downtown Waterfront. Busch announced that there would be a public process with three virtual workshops planned in addition to other meetings.
Plans are in place to initiate the project in early December, with a projected completion period of spring 2021.
Pinnacle at Central Wharf Next Steps
Rob Caridad from the Chiofaro Company provided a brief overview of recent developments with regard to the Harbor Garage redevelopment, also known as the Pinnacle at Central Wharf Project, and discussed next steps in the process:
- There was a MEPA Consultation hearing on the 14th of September.
- There will be an IAG (Impact Advisory Group) meeting on the 17th of September.
- The Chiofaro Company is hosting a virtual open house on October 1st designed to engage the public, with breakout rooms planned to offer individual discussions with subject matter experts.
- The BPDA public comment period has been extended to October 9th.
New Public Art Projects
Katie Gilbert, Executive Director of Now and There, offered a preview of the upcoming public art installation: To Each Era Its Art, To Art Its Freedom by Jose Dávila. The project, which will replace the current Growth Rings piece, is set to debut in late October.
Gilbert also discussed Sari Carel’s The Shape of Play installation currently on display in Christopher Columbus Park.
State Street Renovation Project
Project Manager Ashley Biggins announced that utility work around the project site has been mostly completed. The bicycle lane was temporarily taken down in anticipation of potential protests and has returned with cones instead of barrels.
Boston Harbor Cruises
Matthew Murphy, Managing Director of Business Development for BHC (Boston Harbor Cruises) announced the temporary discontinuation of water taxi service.
The next Wharf District Council meeting will take place on Tuesday, October 20th.
View the full meeting by clicking here. Use password: 5t3@0uAk