Commentary: Councillor Baker outlines his support for Dot Block project

Last month, the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) invited public comment for the most recent design of the Dot Block proposal, which could begin construction as soon as this year. City Councillor Frank Baker is one of the key members of the community who voiced support for the project. His letter explaining his position follows here.
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“As the Boston City Councilor for District 3 and a resident of Dorchester my entire life, I am writing to voice my enthusiastic support for the newly designed and enriched “Dot Block” Development Project. This project seeks to convert a now blighted, mostly empty five-acre parcel of land in the area of Dorchester Avenue and Hancock, Greenmount, and Pleasant Streets into a vibrant destination for all to enjoy.

“Not only will the Dot Block project clean up an area well known for illegal and unsavory behavior, but it will also encompass much needed housing, an underground garage, commercial space, 1.3 acres of open green space, and 125 trees.

Additionally, the Dot Block project seeks to create safe, meaningful, and welcoming pedestrian connections from Meetinghouse Hill through the property to the Savin Hill MBTA Station.

“The community process for this plan has taken nearly 6 years and well over 100 meetings. The most recent iteration of this development project provides for not only a better design, but also for more affordable housing options as well as a Dorchester residential preference. As part of the Inclusionary Development Program (IDP), a tool used by the city to create affordable housing, Dot Block is generating 66 affordable units on site. Of the affordable units, 51 will be 70 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI) and 15 will be 50 percent of the AMI. Half of the affordable units will be Neighborhood Diversity Preservation Preference Units, meaning that 33 of them will be set aside for Dorchester residents living within three quarters of a mile of the Dot Block site.

“Further, the developers of Dot Block are committed to having an office on or near the site, with language translation services, to specifically help Dorchester residents fill out the sometimes confusing and lengthy IDP financial forms they will need to qualify for the housing lottery process.

“Every day that I serve the residents of Dorchester is a privilege for me, and to serve at this particular time, when our neighborhood is finally beginning to take its rightful place in the city of Boston, is enormously exciting, yet challenging. It is my hope that through programs like the Inclusionary Development Program and the Neighborhood Diversity Preservation Preference program we can continue to make strides toward keeping Dorchester residents in Dorchester for generations to come.”

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