Letters to the Editor, Aug. 7, 2008

To the Editor:

I was disappointed to see that your article on the Bloomfield Geneva housing project was off the mark in several aspects.

The 'handful' of abutters opposing the project do not say, as your article implies, that no project should be built on the site. We believe the project is too big and should be scaled down to its proper zoning size, closer to half of what is now proposed. Many abutters, including myself, were not even aware the project was even in the works until the final plans were presented less than a month ago.

The Vietnamese-American Initiative for Development (Viet-AID) has not publicized the project in any significant way to the more than 22,000 residents of Fields Corner and given that most have had no say in its development any claim that this is a community-supported project is impossible to take seriously.

Moreover, as a public project it appears Viet-AID overpaid for the site to the tune of more than $400,000. That the developers seem to consider this sum chump change is not reassuring and should concern not only to Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Daniel O'Connell that we have asked to review the purchase but to all public agencies such as the City of Boston's Department of Neighborhood Development with project oversight and all state taxpayers. Importantly, it appears that this overpayment is driving the project's size.

I applaud the work of civic organization you cite, but their membership, along with their capacity to critically review projects of this size, is quite limited. It is not likely they were aware of the overpayment problem, taking one example, when they gave their support.

You didn't point out that more than half of the attendees at the BRA meeting do not live in the neighborhood, including 3 of the 4 'handful' of individuals you cite who spoke in support of the project. I doubt they would favor a project of this size in their own neighborhood or allow it to be rushed through. The majority of abutters in attendance at the BRA meeting, and at a separate abutters' meeting which your reporter did not mention, are against the project.

It was at this abutters' meeting a week before the BRA meeting that Senator Hart requested that Viet-AID review the project and come back with new proposals that address our concerns. To date there is no sign that they have any intention to so. Instead, as noted in the article, they want less time for public comments to the BRA and seem determined to ram the project through without letting those directly affected have the opportunity of a full review.

Finally, your article's exaggeration of the 'transit' nature of the project by reducing the distance to the Fields Corner T station is curious. One hundred feet to the T station? The Geneva Avenue train trestle, no T entrance there, is further away than that.

- Joe Ureneck,
Marlowe St.

Beach Fest needs some helping hands

To the Editor:

If you are an avid Reporter reader like myself you saw the advance coverage of the first Dorchester Beach Festival which is planned for August 16 from 11a.m. to 4pm at Malibu Beach in last week's edition. This event, which is sponsored by the Friends of Savin Hill Shores and the Beautification Committee of the Columbia Savin Hill Civic Association, would not be possible without the support of Save the Harbor Save the Bay, the Boston Foundation, National Grid, the DCR, the Boston Natural Areas Network, UMass-Boston, our local politicians and other organizations.

However, to efficiently and safely execute an event as ambitious as the Dorchester Beach Festival the committee needs a large number of volunteers to assist with the event set-up, break-down, clean-up, event-day activities, etc. We need additional support from fellow Dorchester residents, community leaders, church and/or youth groups, etc. Please volunteer your time, even an hour or two is greatly appreciated and needed. Forward your name, phone number, e-mail address and availability along with how you would like to help to volunteer@dorchesterbeachfestival.com. Or call me at 617-872-5572. This is a perfect opportunity for students to earn community service credits or for a youth or church-group to contribute to their community. All sponsors, volunteers and participating agencies will be recognized on our website, dorchesterbeachfestival.com. We hope that this event will become an annual event that Dorchester residents will enjoy for years to come. Please help in making the first one a success!

-Deirdre Habershaw
Volunteer Coordinator
Company steps up to support serviceman

To The Editor:

It has recently come to my attention that one of Boston's small businesses, Maverick Construction Company, has an employee who will be going overseas to serve in the Iraq war. At the age of 41, he will leave behind a wife and young child. 

He will be overseas for 10 months, and while we all are very concerned for his safe arrival back home, Maverick Construction has stepped up to the plate to help this military family during his leave of absence. Immediately, Maverick Construction has sent the family a check to defray the many expenses that can come at a time like this.

Also, over the course of this service, this man will be receiving a weekly stipend at higher than the required rate that Maverick Construction must provide. In times like these, it is important that we take the time to recognize a company such as Maverick Construction for the indispensable help that they have offered this family, and it is important to thank companies like this for not only supporting our men, women, and families of the armed forces, but also for going above and beyond to make sure they are getting the care that they need and deserve.

-Ed Roche