The St. Botolph Neighborhood Association held its first Community Meeting since July virtually on Tuesday, Oct. 27, which included an update on the planned redevelopment of the Midtown Hotel.
National Development is proposing a 10-story building that would span the entire block, said Lee Steele of the Neighborhood Association, containing 325 residential units, ground-floor retail and an underground parking garage with 155 spaces. The site is owned by the First Church of Christ, Scientist, which is leasing it to National Development for the duration of 99 years.
Depending on community feedback, the project could result in the demolition of the adjacent red brownstone building at 1 Cumberland, added Steele, who is serving on the Impact Advisory Group, which advises the Boston Planning and Development Agency on potential impacts and appropriate mitigation for the project, along with Joan Carragher, president of the Neighborhood Association.
“Some consider it an eyesore,” Carragher said of the brownstone, “but we want to hear everyone’s opinions on it.”
Carragher added she is working with Adel Labib, another officer of the Neighborhood Association, to re-launch the group’s Safety Committee and said she would soon be meeting with city officials, Boston Police and management of the 7-Eleven at 252 West Newton St. to discuss the problem of persistent panhandling outside the store.
Elsewhere, 100 percent of the lightbulbs have been replaced in South West Corridor Park, and are now operational.
“DCR has done a phenomenal job of replacing the lightbulbs and hopeful they’ll be working for as long as any of us are livening in the neighborhood,” said Lorraine Steele, the Neighborhood Association’s treasurer.
While a stronger State Police presence has resulted in fewer homeless encampments in the park, problems still persist there, she said, so a “formal walk-through” of the site with officials is now scheduled for Nov. 5.
The Neighborhood Association is also waiting to hear back from City Councilor Ed Flynn on its request to extend street-sweeping to align with the South End’s current schedule beginning next year, Lorraine added.
Gisela Griffith also outlined the Trash Task Force Team’s new comprehensive strategy that includes distributing fliers throughout the neighborhood to identify themselves and notifying property managers of ongoing issues at problem locations.
Althea Wagman-Bolster of the newly formed Tree Committee said they have identified trees in neighborhood that need help, and they’re now looking for people to sponsor and “mentor” them, as well as five wells that are currently without trees.
“We have great trees in this neighborhood and we need to take care of them,” Wagman-Bolster said.
The Neighborhood Association also voted unanimously to update its bylaws, which date back to the ‘80s, for the first time in more than two decades to include creating of a consolidated document outlining the group’s financial procedures, and formalizing the residents of Copley Residence – the housing coop adjoining Copley Place – as members of the group, among other changes.
Meanwhile, the Boston Housing Authority’s residential development at 70 St. Botolph St. is slated to undergo renovations, which will be the subject of a Nov. 9 Zoom meeting; more details on this to follow.