A little rain didn’t stop the Fenway community from coming out to Mayor Walsh’s Coffee Hour on May 14. The event was originally supposed to be held at Symphony Park, but due to the weather, it was moved to the Morville House. A host of people came out to mingle with each other and with the Mayor, including City Councilors Kim Janey, Annissa Essaibi-George, and Josh Zakim, as well as State Rep. Jay Livingstone, and three candidates for District 8 City Council.
Mayor Walsh spoke to the community about updates on neighborhood projects, including the Boston Arts Academy (BAA) and the Muddy River improvements. He said that the $124 million BAA facility, when completed, “this is not an exaggeration, it will be the…most resourced arts school in the country.” The Muddy River is receiving $89 million for improvements, he said, and the Back Bay Fens improvements to the Westland Avenue Park entrance and the Johnson Memorial Gate are underway.
He also talked about new projects in the area, including a planned facility for engine 37 and ladder 26. “Last time we built a new fire station was 30 years ago,” Walsh said. He said the current stations are dirty, and many of them still contain asbestos. “We’re working on a planning process for the fire station here but we’re also working across the city on building a couple new fire stations as we move forward,” Walsh said. He added that the Fire Alarm Office in the Back Bay will be receiving a $1.5 million exterior repointing, “which is going to make the building look sharper and nicer and better,” he said. Charlesgate Park also received $400,000 to complete the park.
Walsh also thanked the residents of the Fenway for being the neighborhood to test the pilot of the rideshare dropoff/pickup program. “We’re hoping it works because it really is a big issue as you all know—Uber and Lyft and rideshare just dropping people off,” he said. Additionally, the city is working to refresh crosswalks and lane markings across the entire city. “That’s one of the concerns people had, that some of the crosswalks in front of senior buildings” are in disrepair. Accessible pedestrian signals are also being installed in the Back Bay to assist visually impaired residents, and the mayor will be releasing a call to artists fora piece of permanent public art at the new BAA school.
Walsh finished his speech by directing people to the appropriate city department for any concerns they may have with the various projects going on in the neighborhood right now, particularly the proposed private dormitory building on Boylston St.