The Boston Sun Rewind

The year 2018 saw some big stories in the South End, Back Bay, Kenmore, and Fenway neighborhoods. From a boom in development to new politicians, to discussions of policy issues, here are some highlights from the past year.

•Mayor Walsh was sworn in to his second term as the 54th mayor of Boston on New Year’s Day. In his inaugural address, he said he would prioritize creating strong public schools, good jobs, and affordable, safe homes for Boston residents.

• In an unexpected announcement in March, the state Department of Health and Human Services revealed their plan to buy the Newton Pavilion in the South End for $200 million and move operations from the Shattuck Hospital in JP to the pavilion by 2021.

• Also in March, Mayor Walsh withdrew his ordinance regulating short-term rentals, saying that more time was needed in order to ensure the most effective policies.

• Students from around the country came together for the March for Our Lives demonstration, marching through Lower Roxbury, the South End, and the Back Bay before rallying on the Boston Common. The protest was in response to the deadly shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and survivors of the shooting were at the forefront of the demonstration.

• Yawkey Way is no more due to a unanimous vote by the Boston Public Improvements Commission to change the name of the street back to Jersey Street in April.

•In May, the Boston Arts Commission voted 4-3 to remove the two Landwave sculptures in the South End’s Peters Park, the first time that a piece of public artwork had to be removed from the permanent collection, according to BAC Chair Lynne Kortenhaus.

• The Boston Red Sox created a new Neighborhood Advisory Committee to help mitigate some of the impacts of the events that take place at Fenway Park, including the summer concerts. The group aims to work closely with neighborhood groups to help with issues like traffic and noise.

• At the end of May, the Boston Planning and Development Agency revealed the initial plans for the Kenmore Square block redevelopment. Since then, several other community meetings have been held and the plans have been altered slightly based on community feedback. The project will revitalize the partially vacant buildings along Beacon Street and Commonwealth Avenue into two new mixed-use buildings.

• In July, city officials told South End residents that they were surprised by the amount of development after new zoning was put into place in the Harrison-Albany Corridor in 2012. The development has exceeded their expectations, which means that many of the traffic and infrastructure models will need revamping.

•At the end of July, Police Commissioner William Evans announced that he would resign as police chief to spend more time with his family and be the head of public safety at Boston College. Mayor Walsh then made an historic appointment of the first African-American police commissioner, Chief William Gross.

• The Zoning Board of Appeal granted zoning relief to the Algonquin Club in August. The project was then heard on several different occasions by the Back Bay Architectural Commission, with mixed feedback from the community. At the latest hearing in October, the Commission told architect Guy Grassi that the contentious glass wall around the rooftop deck be substituted with another material, and approved the rest of the project.

• Political newcomer Job Santiago had a 10- point win over State Rep. Byron Rushing, who has represented the district for over 30 years. Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley also celebrated a victory over Congressman Michael Capuano, who has been a member of the House of Representatives since 1999.

•Mayor Walsh told the South End in September that he is now willing to have a “conversation” about Safe Injection Facilities (SIF), after saying for years that he was against them. He added, however, that he would not support a piloted SIF in the South End, where SIFs have been a hot topic of discussion.

• Matthew Beaton, secretary of Health and Human Services, ruled at the end of September that the City did not need to file an Environmental Impact Report for the reconstruction of the Long Island Bridge and awarded the city a MEPA certificate, which meant that the bridge could move on to state and federal permitting stages after objections from Quincy officials.

• A proposal for a 5,000 seat indoor concert venue dubbed the Fenway Theater was proposed at a Red Sox Community Meeting in October and received mixed feedback from attendees. The Red Sox filed a Letter of Intent with the BPDA in December, the first formal step in the review process.

•In October, the late Kip Tiernan, founder of Rosie’s Place, was honored with a memorial on Dartmouth Street between Boylston and Newbury Streets. Rosie’s Place was the first emergency shelter for women in the United States.

• Boston followed in the footsteps of several cities around the country by banning thin plastic bags on December 14. The banning will occur in phases, with all stores banned from using them by July 1.

• Orchard Gardens K-8 in the South End has to fight discarded needles everyday in the epicenter of the growing opiate crisis. Hiding under a blanket of leaves are many needles that can’t be seen, putting children at a huge risk on the playground that’s supposed to provide them a safe place to play and be kids.

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