News Briefs

May 25, 2018
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VOTE ON SHORT-TERM RENTALS POSTPONED

New rules regulating short-term rentals in Boston have been put on hold until their next hearing on June 6.

The City Council was set to vote at the hearing this past Wednesday, May 23, but after not being able to find common ground after a working group session on Monday, May 21, the Council would like some more time to hammer out the details.

At Wednesday’s hearing Councilor Michael Flaherty said there was back and forth on the 120-day cap on short term rentals of two-and three-family homes.

“It is a complex matter,” said Flaherty. “The proposal is a work in progress and we would like to keep it in committee.”

 

CHIEF OF ARTS and CULTURE TO LEAVE

On Friday, May 18, Mayor Martin Walsh announced the departure of Julie Burros, Boston’s first chief of arts and culture in more than 20 years.

As Chief, Burros oversaw the development and ongoing implementation of Boston Creates, the city’s first ever cultural plan, and worked as an advocate for the arts community across new policy creation, including the Percent for Art program, which devotes funding to public art for new capital projects.

Her last day with the City of Boston is June 29, and Kara Elliott-Ortega, director of planning and policy at the mayors office of arts and culture, will serve as interim chief of arts and culture. A posting for the role of chief of arts and culture will be made available on the city’s career web site.

Established in 2014, the City’s Arts and Culture cabinet seeks to grow the arts in Boston across all artistic disciplines, from theater to dance, to the visual arts to public art.

“With the launch of many new programs completed and the implementation of the Boston Creates Cultural Plan well underway, it’s a fitting time for me to transition to my next chapter and undertake new creative challenges,” said Burros. “It has been an honor to serve in Mayor Walsh’s cabinet and to play a leading role in the dramatic expansion of municipal arts support championed by Mayor Walsh.”

Burros will assume the position of principal cultural planner at Metris Arts Consulting, a consulting firm based out of Easton, PA that provides high caliber planning, research, and evaluation services to reveal art’s impacts and help communities equitably improve cultural vitality.

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OPEN NEWBURY STREET

Building on the success of the last two years of Open Newbury Street events, Mayor Martin Walsh announced that “Open Newbury Street” will continue this year over a series of three Sundays this summer.

From 10-6 a.m. on July 8, August 12, and September 9, Newbury Street will become a pedestrian-only walkway, closing to vehicles to allow pedestrians the opportunity to use the full width of the street. Newbury Street will be pedestrian-only from Arlington Street to Massachusetts Avenue.

Parking will once again be restricted beginning at 8 a.m., and signs will be posted informing drivers of the change. All businesses will be encouraged to promote the event on social media using #OpenNewbury and make customers aware of car-free day ahead of time. The public is encouraged to utilize the several different MBTA routes that service the area in addition to bicycling and walking.

 

LONG ISLAND BRIDGE UPDATE

On Monday, the Quincy City Council threw a curveball in the plan to rebuild the Long Island Bridge, a move many in the South End believe will help relieve the burden of social services and the addiction crises within the neighborhood.

The Quincy Council voted to ban commercial vehicles, including buses, from the Quincy roadways leading up to the bridge. That would mean the buses that would be used to transport people to the island would not be able to operate there – which would basically make the bridge moot.

The ordinance change there was introduced by Quincy Councilor William Harris, who represents that part of Quincy.

This month, Mayor Martin Walsh advanced plans for the bridge to the City’s Conservation Commission, and plans to start construction in 2019.

 

EXPANDING THE REACH OF COMMUNITY GARDENS

Mayor Martin Walsh announced Wednesday, May 23, a three-year partnership between the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, The Trustees, and TD Bank to expand the reach and highlight the role of community gardens in Boston’s neighborhoods with community-driven design projects, community-building events, and skill-building workshops planned for up to 40 gardens.

In the first year, the City will seek ideas for innovative design installations at three community gardens including: The Trustees’ Nightingale Community Garden in Dorchester, Childcott and Granada Community Garden in Jamaica Plain, and the Fenway Victory Gardens, owned by Boston Parks and Recreation and administered and marinated by the Fenway Garden Society.

The installations may support community dinners, storytelling and community conversations, performances, and interactive play. In addition, The Trustees will hold 10 community-building events and skill-building workshops at its community gardens in the South End, Jamaica Plain, East Boston and more.

Over the next three years, the program aims to engage and enhance up to 40 community gardens in six neighborhoods in Boston including the Worcester Community Garden in the South End.

TD Bank will serve as the presenting sponsor of the Boston Community Gardens partnership, granting a total of $225,000 over three years.

 

WORKING GROUP AS ADVISORY?

South End Forum Opiate Working Group Moderator Steve Fox has proposed that the Group be used for its expertise on social service issues in regards to proposals brought to the South End community – such as the proposed medical marijuana facility on Tremont Street right now.

The Working Group has addressed issues on addiction and homelessness and drug use for the past two years, and Fox said he felt it made sense for the Group to weigh in on things like medical-marijuana or recreational marijuana stores – as well as other things.

“I’d like to be able to use this Group, given our expertise and our work together, as an advisory group,” he said. “It would represent one piece of the puzzle and not the end all. There’s no other neighborhood in the city like the South End with this kind of specialized working group.”

Reactions were supportive, but quiet, with some trumpeting the idea and some needing time to think.

Fox said he would like to invite the Compassionate Organics proponents to the June meeting of the Working Group, and perhaps the group could take a position on their proposal.

New D-4 Police Capt. Steven Sweeney said he would appreciate the opportunity. He said he has some real concerns about that proposal.

“That’s something as a captain here I have some issues with, because I can see them going from here right down to there,” he said. “I have concerns being the captain down here about it.”

 

UNTOLD STORIES OF THE PUBLIC GARDEN

Join the Friends of the Public Garden for FREE walking tours of Boston’s iconic Public Garden and learn about the history, sculpture, and horticulture of America’s first public botanical garden. Tours are Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays at 4p.m. and Wednesdays and Thursdays at 10a.m. (weather permitting) beginning May 22 through mid-September.

Meet at the Make Way for Ducklings sculpture in the Garden.

For more information, visit friendsofthepublicgarden.org.

 

ESPLANADE ASSOCIATION PUBLIC MEETING

Over the last several years, the Esplanade Association has focused their efforts heavily on the health of the park’s more than 1,700 trees. In fall 2017, EA worked in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and a project consultant to draft a comprehensive Esplanade Tree Care Management and Succession Plan. The plan will build on their existing 2015 tree inventory to create a multi-year maintenance and planting plan, ensuring a healthy tree canopy for future generations.

The EA will be presenting the draft of this plan for review and comment on Wednesday, May 30 from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. at Fisher College’s Alumni Hall. R.S.V.P. to info@esplanadeassociation.org.

 

BOSTON PRIDE EVENTS

Boston Pride announced last week a new partnership with Big Night Entertainment Group. As part of this partnership, Big Night Entertainment will host the official Boston Pride Closing Party at their new nightclub, The Grant, on Sunday, June 10, at 9 p.m. after the block parties.

Big Night Entertainment has and will continue to host several Pride-related events, including several meet-ups, at various venues leading up to Pride Week.

During Pride Week, June 1 to June 10, Red Lantern in the Back Bay will offer the fifth annual Pride Week specials menus that will feature “The Red Door” as the specialty drink with a portion of the proceeds from each drink sold donated to Victory Programs. The Red Lantern will host an Out Professional Executive Networking (O.P.E.N.) event on Monday, June 4, with complimentary appetizers for Boston’s LGBTQ community and its allies.

Boston Pride Week 2018 will kick-off with the Pride flag raising on City Hall Plaza on Friday, June 1 and continue with events throughout the week, concluding with the annual Boston Pride Parade and Festival on Saturday, June 9, and Pride Block Parties on Sunday June 10, in the Back Bay and Jamaica Plain.

 

PRESERVATION MONTH EVENTS

Fenway

•Historical Site Development of the Christian Science Plaza, free event will take place on May 29 at the Christian Science Church Publishing House, 210 Mass. Ave. at 4:30p.m.

 

South End

•Boston’s South End (Postcard History Series) Book Talk, free event, will take place at the South End Historical Society, 532 Mass. Ave., May 30, from 6-8p.m.

 

Bay Village

•Historical Site Development of the Christian Science Plaza, free event will take place on May 29 at the Christian Science Church Publishing House, 210 Mass. Ave. at 4:30p.m.

 

SOUTH END DATES

•The Friends of Chester Park will be holding a meeting on Tuesday, May 29 to share visions and ideas for Chester Park, and discuss plans for summer and beyond. The meeting will take place at Chester Park, Mass Ave. from 6:30-7:30 p.m.

•The South End Forum’s Opiate Working Group will meet next on June 19, and they are expected to invite Compassionate Organics to give a presentation to the group about their Tremont Street plan to open a medical marijuana facility.

•The next Eight Streets monthly meeting will take place on Tuesday, June 12, at 7 p.m. in Project Place, 1145 Washington St.

•The East Berkeley Neighborhood Association (EBNA) will meet on Tuesday, June 19.

•The Ellis South End Neighborhood Association will hold its Ellis Evening 2018 to celebrate the neighborhood on June 3, at 5:30 p.m., at Mistral, 223 Columbus Ave. Proceeds from this event will be awarded to the Ellis Scholarship Fund and Ellis’s ongoing initiatives for preservation, enhancement and safety of the neighborhood and its operations.

•Fete de la Musique will hit the parks and streets of the South End on June 23 this year, courtesy of the Community Music Center of Boston, Warren Avenue. This year, new parks like Watson Park, Ringgold Park and Union Park will be added to the locations for outdoor musical celebration. The event goes from 3-6 p.m.

•The Josiah Quincy School will host its 171st anniversary fundraiser on Thursday, May 31, from 5-9 p.m. at Empire Garden Restaurant in Chinatown. It will be a night to celebrate the school with a traditional 10-course Chinese banquet, a lion dance performed by the students and live entertainment and auction.

 

BACK BAY HAPPENINGS

•The Friends of the Public Garden are looking for champion volunteer weeders to help maintain the beautiful Boylston Street boarder and the Beacon Street border in the Public Garden. ‘You supply the enthusiasm, we supply the gloves, kneepads, and some brief instructions on weed identification!’ Volunteers meet up on alternative Thursdays, starting April 26, 5 – 7p.m.

•NABB’s next Police Panel/ Public Safety Forum will take place on May 31 from 6-7p.m. in the first floor sanctuary of The First Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough St.

•Tour of Fenway Park will take place on June 2 at 10:30 a.m. in front of Fenway Park on Jersey Street. Tickers are on sale for $23 at nabbonline.com.

 

FENWAY TIMES

•Calling all volunteers for Fenway Porchfest! Interested in volunteering? Volunteers will serve short shifts as site ambassadors and hand out event information.The music festival is on Saturday June 16, from 12-4 p.m. For more info, email: info@fenwayporchfest.org.

•The Fenway Civic Association Annual Rose Garden Picnic will take place at the Kelleher Rose Garden across from 85 Park Drive, June 12 from 6-8 p.m.

•DCR Pedestrian Advisory: Through the month of May 2018, and into June 2018, the Department of Conversation and Recreation (DCR) will commence sidewalk improvement work along Park Drive (the residential side) in the City of Boston between approximately Peterborough Street and Brookline Avenue from 7 – 3 p.m. A detour route will be clearly marked and a police detail will be on site.

 

RED SOX GAMES

The Red Sox will return home on Friday, May 25, for an evening game against the Atlanta Braves. They will continue the series for two afternoon games at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

This will be followed by a three-day stint against the Toronto Blue Jays beginning with an afternoon game Monday, May 28, followed by two evening games Tuesday and Wednesday.

 

MASSPORT AIRPLANE NOISE COMPLAINT LINE

Residents who are being disturbed by airplane noise are encouraged to call the MassPort Noise Hotline 24 hours a day. The phone number is (617) 561-3333.

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