Help Save Pier 5
KEEP PIER 5 OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Click HERE to sign the petition.
Article written by Seth Daniel June 24, 2021 of The Charlestown Patriot-Bridge paper.
A large and organized crowd gathered on the Flagship Wharf patio on the evening of June 16 to display their growing opposition to development of any kind on Pier 5, and to push for federal funding to restore the pier so it can be used as a park – a plan once considered by the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) but discarded when the pier was deemed unsafe.
More than 150 people turned out to hear the first in-person update on the two organizations that have combined efforts in the Navy Yard for restoration of the pier as a park, hiring high-powered lobbyist firm O’Neil and Associates to advocate for them.
Navy Yard resident Bob Markel, a former mayor of the City of Springfield in the 1990s and a close friend of U.S. President Joe Biden, kicked off the lively gathering around 7 p.m. and said two associations – the Pier 5 Association and Restore Pier 5 – have combined their forces to oppose the current development plans. Pier 5 Association is looking to secure federal COVID funding through the use of O’Neil and Associates, and Restore Pier 5 is working on community advocacy for turning Pier 5 into open space.
They reported a petition with 1,750 signatures.
“We have a developing consensus this is the time to act and this is the time to get funding and restore the pier,” said Markel. “Before, this couldn’t be done because there was never any money. Times have changed. There is a Niagara of money flowing out of Washington, D.C. now.”
Jamie Dunbar and Chris Tracey, both of O’Neil, reported that firm owner Tom O’Neil was not able to make the June 16 meeting due to a wedding commitment, but would be at the next meeting for a comprehensive update.
Tracey, a former BPDA manager, said he has been working as an advocate for the two groups at City Hall.
“My charge is to be your advocate and lobbyist at City Hall and over the last month I’ve tried to amplify your concerns at City Hall,” he said.
“This is the best view and the only view of the open harbor and we think it should stay open to the public,” said Nitzen Sneh, of one of the restoration groups. “This is what we want to happen here.”
Chris Nicodemus, a construction professional that has recently moved back to Charlestown, said the Pier could and should be saved as he has seen done in New York, New Jersey and Miami.
“The idea it has to be privatized to be monetized is silly,” he said. “Boston is an embarrassment to me on that front.”
The group was intent on raising more money to keep O’Neil on the case, hoping to fund them for another 45 days to continue advocating for federal funding to restore and revitalize Pier 5 as a park.
Currently, the BPDA is considering three development projects for Pier 5, including two floating housing concepts and one stationary affordable housing/mixed-use development. The BPDA met in October 2019 with the community about the idea of putting out a housing RFP for Pier 5 and got the go-ahead at the time. However, things changed drastically when actual responses came in earlier this year.
Click here to view the article in the Charlestown Patriot-Bridge paper.
More than 150 people attended the Restore Pier 5 Public Informational Gathering Event in the Navy Yard at the Flagship Plaza held on a beautiful evening on June 16th.
Restore Pier 5 seeks to preserve Pier 5, an historic structure situated at the Head of Boston Harbor, as a fully accessible, environmentally resilient, recreational and educational open public space.
Speakers included Tom O’Neill of O’Neill and Associates on strategies for accessing financial resources to restore the pier and achieve an outcome beneficial to the community, city and state.
File Photo June 2012 by David L. Ryan/Globe Staff
Charlestown’s Pier 5 could be the next battleground.
Renée Loth’s April 23 Opinion column, “Bringing Boston into the wild,” really hit home in thinking about how
we consider outdoor activities and open space in a post-pandemic world. If one had to look for a silver lining in all we have been through, among the biggest would be a reappreciation for connecting with nature and the value of safe, healthy open spaces.
In the Charlestown Navy Yard sits an empty and dilapidated pier, the historic Pier 5. The city has let this site languish for years, and now it is slated for development. What we don’t need is more development along the
waterfront. What we have with Pier 5 is an opportunity to craft a vision that incorporates open space, climate
resiliency, educational opportunities on climate science, and access to the waterfront for all. It would be a shame
to lose this rare opportunity to create something open and valuable for generations to come.
Marshfield-1/27/2015 At 530 pm, At the height of high tide, homes and businesses are surrounded by the ocean flooding over the seawall in Brant Rock, Marshfield, Jan. 27, 2015. Boston Globe staff photo by John Tlumacki (metro) JOHN TLUMACKI
It is not possible for the public to ignore any longer the changes that accelerating climate change is making to our physical world. Thank goodness for trained experts like Richard W. Murray and Daniel P. Schrag for making their case in “Managing rising seas may require a managed retreat” (Opinion, May 31). They are helping “we the public” accept what we already know but lack the encouragement to do anything about.
Murray and Schrag are realists, and we should be encouraged, not made afraid, by knowing that there are real actions that can be taken and supported by an informed public.
In writing about the proposal for Piers Park III in East Boston, Jocelyn Forbush (”Developing a climate resilient Boston Waterfront,” Opinion, May 31) provides the argument for rejecting the proposals currently before the Boston Planning and Development Agency for private commercial development of Pier 5 in the
Charlestown Navy Yard. Rather than given to private development, Pier 5, a historic structure situated at the head of Boston Harbor, should be preserved as a fully accessible, environmentally resilient, recreational, and educational open public space — the objective Forbush outlines for Piers Park III. She writes of Piers Park III as
a good beginning and asks organizations, businesses, and residents to act and “voice support for a greener waterfront.” All those who support her objectives should unite to oppose private development of Pier 5 in the Navy Yard and support organizations and resources working to fulfill mutual goals.
By Shirley Leung Globe Columnist,Updated June 29, 2021, 12:01 a.m.
We’ve long talked about Boston’s waterfront growing less accessible and less affordable. Now a poll confirms those concerns break strikingly along income levels and racial lines with Black, Latino, and Asian American residents most worried about being cut off.
The poll, commissioned by a new group called the Coalition for a Resilient and Inclusive Waterfront, indicates that just over half of Boston residents visit the waterfront frequently or sometimes in a normal year, and they strongly support new open space and public parks along the water’s edge.
Younger people, ages 18 to 44, tend to visit the waterfront more often, as do those with household incomes of $75,000 or more, according to the poll, which was conducted in June by MassINC Polling Group and is based on a survey of 635 likely voters in Boston.
Only 38 percent agree that the diversity of a city, where people of color make up the majority of the population, is reflected on the waterfront.
But perhaps most illuminating were responses about what should be a “major priority” for the next mayor of Boston as it relates to the city’s 47 miles of shoreline.
While there was substantial support for keeping the waterfront accessible to everyone, there were big differences between white and nonwhite residents on what’s important:
The poll marks the beginning of how the coalition for a Resilient and Inclusive Waterfront is working to educate and influence candidates and voters on issues affecting Boston’s waterfront in the 2021 municipal elections.
While the group does not plan to endorse anyone, it will host a mayoral forum on July 29 at the New England Aquarium and launch waterfront-related programming to engage the community.
Meanwhile, another group, the Civic Action Project (CAP), also wants mayoral candidates to focus on equity in waterfront development and is engaging the community to craft policy recommendations for the Seaport District and other neighborhoods. The Globe and WBUR are cosponsoring a virtual panel at noon on Tuesday to kick off CAP’s effort. Registration is free.
The Coalition for a Resilient and Inclusive Waterfront brings together 40 organizations representing a broad range of interests, including A Better City, Black Economic Council of Massachusetts, Boston Shipping Association, NAACP Boston Branch, Chinatown Main Streets, Greenroots, and YMCA of Greater Boston.
The effort is funded with a $575,000 grant from the Barr Foundation’s Boston Waterfront Initiative. In recent years, the foundation, set up by former cable media magnate Amos Hostetter and wife Barbara, has emerged as a powerful counterweight to downtown waterfront development by providing financial support to waterfront advocacy groups.
James Morton, chief executive of the YMCA of Greater Boston, said the Y’s involvement grew out of its interest in teaching adults and children how to swim but also believing the waterfront should be something all families can enjoy.
“There are many young people and families who don’t experience the waterfront. They don’t know it’s available to them,” Morton said. “We want to change that.”
At the core of the coalition are three foundational members who have been active on waterfront issues for years: The aquarium, Boston Harbor Now, and the Trustees of Reservations.
Notably, the aquarium has been locked in a high-profile fight over the redevelopment of the Harbor Garage next door. Instead of a 600-foot-tower, the aquarium is pushing the city to go back to the drawing board and approve a project that is more accessible and resilient to climate change. Boston Harbor Now, meanwhile, has long advocated for public access to the water via the Harborwalk, and the Trustees have in recent years grown more involved in trying to create waterfront parks.
The poll captures broad support, about 76 percent, for waterfront access, even if it means less land for developers to build on. Protecting the waterfront from rising sea levels was also top of mind for residents, and 83 percent of those surveyed said they would support additional city government funding to protect specific neighborhoods of Boston from climate change.
Vikki Spruill, chief executive of the New England Aquarium, tells me creating the coalition reflects how the future of waterfront development goes beyond the impact on her institution.
“This is bigger than the aquarium,” she said. “Boston has the potential to think big . . . harbor cleanup, the Greenway. Now it’s time to take another big leap in how we are viewing our city as an inclusive, equitable, resilient waterfront.”
Jocelyn Forbush, chief executive of the Trustees of Reservations, which is building Piers Park 3 on land in East Boston owned by the Massachusetts Port Authority, echoed how the time to act is now — with people coming out of a pandemic with a new appreciation for open space, as climate change poses a bigger threat to the waterfront, and a racial reckoning forces a new commitment to equity.
All of this, of course, is taking place during a historic mayoral election.
“This is a moment in time not to be lost,” Forbush said. “There is a shared understanding what is at stake.”
Shirley Leung is a Business columnist. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org,
Files coming soon.