Making Progress : City Manager Ambrosino Forwards Salvation Army Building RFP to Council

City Manager Tom Ambrosino has forwarded a draft Request for Proposals (RFP) to the City Council for review and possible approval when the body re-convenes in late summer.

The Salvation Army building was taken by the City after it went vacant and seemingly had not viable plans. It is a key property in the City’s hopes to revitalize the downtown, and the RFP from Ambrosino has been long in the coming.

Now, the bones of that five-page RFP have become public and the vision is a mixed-use affordable housing project with a retail component. Ambrosino has suggested that the City apply for zoning relief to build 16 units on top of the existing store. That, he suggested, would reduce the cost for any developer that wins designation for the site.

“I’m happy we are making some progress, and I hope to have an RFP ready for advertisement in the Fall,” he said.

The RFP explains that on the first floor, “the City envisions retail space that enlivens the streetscape, offers opportunities for small, locally owned businesses and entrepreneurs, and yields community benefits.”

The City is hoping that there could be new construction on top of the existing one-story store, with an affordable housing or mixed-income approach. The RFP encourages developers to be creating in helping to solve the City’s housing shortage and also bring life to what has been a troubled area for a long time.

“Projects shall aspire to increase the social and economic vitality of the central business district,” read the RFP. “Searching for an innovative, exciting project, the City desires an architecturally attractive and lively project that will result in positive, cascading effects throughout the central business district, while providing an inviting and alluring atmosphere for residents and the community.”

The RFP calls for a robust community process from any developer that wins the right to develop the property.

Also, the sale price has been suggested to be somewhere around $1.34 million, which was the appraised value in 2017.

An exciting process to complement the downtown initiatives are expected this fall.

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Councillor Tejada Praises Let It Fly Classic directors

City Councillor Luis Tejada will be a spectator at the fifth annual Let It Fly Basketball Classic Saturday at Jordan Boys and Girls Club.

“I wouldn’t miss it,” said Tejada. “The directors [Kyle Umemba and Cesar Castro do such a great job running this event.”

Tejada said the whole atmosphere at the tournament is exciting. “It’s like one of these urban scenarios that you see on TV with the whole basketball game going on and everyone is yelling and screaming, but having a good time. It’s just a fantastic atmosphere.”

Tejada said the event always draws an enthusiastic crowd, “but it’s safe, it’s protected. The police are there. Everybody is there just to have fun and raise money for our Chelsea High School students. It’s a win-win-win situation all around, so it’s definitely one of those worthwhile events to attend.”

Tejada, a past tournament sponsor, said he will also be bringing his children and nephews to the Jordan Boys and Girls Club. “My kids love basketball and my nephews play in basketball leagues, so we’ll all be heading over to watch it,” he said.

Tejada said he’s looking forward to seeing Chelsea Black Community (CBC) President Joan Cromwell at the tournament. Joan is the mother of Co-Director Kyle Umemba.

“Joan and I grew up around the same time in Chelsea,” said Tejada, who is 1986 Chelsea High School graduate. “Joan is amazing. She’s all over the place, always helping out and it’s always, ‘what can I do to improve our area?’ “She is just a beautiful person. It’s just an amazing Chelsea family that is here to help our residents and our neighbors. They’re one of these Chelsea pride families. When you speak of Chelsea and families that you’re proud of, they’re right at the top.”

The tournament begins at 10 a.m., with games continuing all day until a champion is crowned. There are refreshments, musical entertainment, and raffle drawings. Admission to the games is free.

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Massport Announces Communication Campaign as Series of Construction Projects Begin at Logan

The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) today announced a communication plan to inform passengers, employees and tenants about an upcoming series of construction projects at Boston Logan International Airport. The projects will have major impacts to the traveling public, including roadway detours starting this fall, and will all be completed within the next five years.

The Authority is preparing New England’s gateway airport for a growing number of passengers driven by the robust economy and industry trends. Massport is branding this campaign “Logan Forward,” complete with a new website and a text alert program coming later this fall to keep the public informed as we make important investments to improve the customer experience at Logan. In addition, Massport is training airport staff, and will use radio, print and digital advertising to get the word out to our passengers. There will also be signage throughout the airport terminals and along the roadways. Logan served 40.9 million passengers in 2018, and has nearly 20,000 full and part-time employees.

“‘Logan Forward’ is our commitment to improve the passenger experience and we pledge to keep the public informed every step of the way throughout the construction process so they can appropriately plan ahead,” said incoming Massport CEO Lisa Wieland. “This will be a long process and communication with our passengers will be key.”

Massport is undergoing a nearly $2 billion capital plan to improve the efficiency and customer experience throughout Logan Airport. It involves several major projects over the next 5 years, including:

· Terminal B to C roadway improvements;

· A new Terminal B-C post-security connection;

· New gates and a 2,000-space parking garage at Terminal E;

· Increased sustainability efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;

· Better access to and more high occupancy vehicle (HOV) transportation options.

A new website www.LoganForward.com has been set up to provide more information about each of these projects, as well as construction timelines and updates. A new text alert program is also in the works and will be available later this fall. Passengers, employees and tenants will be able to get up-to-date messages about road detours and traffic impacts.

“Logan Forward” also includes a robust Ground Transportation plan aimed at reducing the airport’s environmental footprint by strategically providing more options for passengers to use HOV, like Logan Express (LEX). LEX is the seventh largest transit system in Massachusetts with Back Bay and four suburban locations in Braintree, Framingham, Woburn, and Peabody.

Within the next 5 years, a new LEX service will be available at North Station and another suburban location; more parking spaces will be available in Braintree and Framingham; and more buses will service Framingham. A new centralized TNC, or App Ride, pickup/dropoff area inside Logan’s Central Garage is also under construction to give passengers a better experience and an option for discounted shared rides. The goal is to eliminate about 1.5 million empty, or “deadheading,” TNC vehicles and double LEX ridership from 2 million to 4 million. This will reduce congestion and air emissions at Logan and will benefit our neighboring communities.

Construction on a few of these projects has already begun and so far there has only been a handful of minor interruptions. Starting this fall, and throughout the next 5 years, there will be major impacts.

Some of the improvements are needed to support the current passenger load and construction for the Terminal B to C roadway improvement project has already begun. The project will replace the aging roadway infrastructure between the two terminals and significantly reduce traffic congestion, especially during peak hours of operation. Separate roads for both terminals will ease traffic flow and increase curb space at Terminal C. As part of the Ground Transportation strategy, we are also adding new roads to and from the Central Garage to separate App Ride vehicles from other traffic.

“We have a responsibility to build a modern, world-class facility because it is what our airline partners want and passengers expect,” said Aviation Director Ed Freni. “We’re using this as an opportunity to prepare the entire airport for the future and it is critical that we keep the traveling public, airlines and tenants informed every step of the way. Not only are our terminal facilities old and need an upgrade, but we are improving the roadway system, reducing congestion and air emissions at the airport and our neighboring communities, and building more sustainable features at our terminals.”

Built in 1967, Terminal C is Logan’s busiest terminal, home to JetBlue Airways and served over 12 million passengers in 2018. Construction for the Terminal C Optimization and the Terminal B-C Connector projects will begin next spring. The combined projects will consolidate the security checkpoints, renovate the public spaces, and expand the food and retail concessions and passenger amenities. A new concourse connecting Terminals B and C post-security will also be completed in 2021.

The Terminal E Modernization project will add nearly 400,000 square feet of space with 7 new gates, 3 of which were approved in 1995 but never constructed, to the international terminal. These new gates will be able to serve larger and more energy-efficient aircraft commonly used for international flights. The project will include new TSA security checkpoints, an expanded ticketing hall, renovations to the existing building, new high-capacity baggage carousels, and improvements to the Customs and Border Protection area to be completed by 2023. Terminal E was built in 1974 and currently serves 5 million passengers annually who fly to 56 nonstop international destinations.

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Juvenile Arrested in Brutal Bat Attack at Mary O’Malley

Police have arrested a 17-year-old juvenile male in connection with a brutal attack at Mary O’Malley Park on Monday, July 29.

The assault, conducted with a baseball bat, left the victim critically injured, and there was no work on his or her condition at press time.

Because there was no Juvenile Session July 30 in Chelsea District Court, the juvenile was arraigned in the Boston Juvenile Court on charges of delinquency, specifically, armed assault with intent to murder and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (baseball bat).

Due to the defendant’s age, the proceedings were not be open to the public, and his name was not released to the public.

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Tobin/Chelsea : Local Traffic Advisory

Orange Street Temporary Closure

Saturday, August 10, 2019

What and Where : Orange Street under Route 1 in Chelsea will be closed on Saturday, August 10 for necessary bridge work.

WHEN: From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, August 10, 2019

WHY: To remove bridge deck and support beams in need of replacement on Route 1.

TRAVEL IMPACTS: Orange Street will be closed under Route 1 to create a safe work zone. During the closure, two-way travel will be permitted on Orange Street from Revere Beach Parkway to the workzone under the bridge. Signed detours and police details will guide drivers and pedestrians safely around the work zone via Everett Ave. (see detour below).

Carter Street Temporary Workzone

• On Monday, August 5, crews will set up a temporary workzone in the center of Carter Street between Blossom Street and the Route 1 off-ramp.

• The temporary workzone is necessary to construct new support columns under Route 1 and will remain in place for approximately 2 months.

• The temporary workzone will have no travel impacts to Carter Street or Route 1. Lane markings, temporary barriers, traffic cones, and signage will be used to guide traffic around the work zone.

• For more information on the Tobin Bridge / Chelsea Curves Rehabilitation Project, contact Tobin-Chelsea@dot.state.ma.us or visit https://www.mass.gov/tobin-bridgechelsea-curves-rehabilitation-project

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Luis Tejada Announces His Run for Re-Election as District 2 Councilor

It’s amazing, 4 years have flown by. It’s been a cathartic experience serving my community! We have accomplished many important things in our little neck of the woods proudly named Soldiers Home or Powderhorn Hill.

I want to thank you for electing me to serve our Chelsea Neighborhood, I want you to know that I do not take this Honor of serving lightly as I realize that the seat belongs to You, the masses, and not me and so I hope I have performed up to your standards and I do hope you elect to allow me to serve for another term.

Together we have done many big and small things that have improved our quality of life, things such as improving the safety of our streets at night by improving the lighting. Our streets have never looked brighter and that is fantastic, the safety of all of us is of primary importance. The city steps, particularly the Washington Ave. to Franklin Ave. side was hard to light up but we found a way to finally light that up without disturbing the neighbors while providing maximum illumination and security.

Thanks to the great job performed by DPW, we have kept on top of the damage created by snow and storms on our streets. We have given senior citizens discounts on water, have increased the residential exemption in an effort to further lower residential taxes and mitigated the proposed increase of water to residents from almost 3 percent to 1 percent.

We negotiated favorably on behalf of our residents with the DOT and on Summit ave we are working on minimizing thedisturbanced cause by the building of the new hospital. We are taking care of streets on Washington Ave and County Road, and are embarking on more efforts to beautify our Soldiers Home like improved Christmas and holiday ligting this season.

We also provided barrells both for trash and recycle inan effort to curb the rodent problems in the city.

Thanks to the great work by all of the boards and groups like the Chelsea Hill Community, we can see the ever flourishing beauty that is Chelsea, come through more and more everyday! We have beautified the city with trees, newer streets and newer sidewalks. Improved the condition of our parks. Our city is the safest and our transportation efforts are the best they have ever been.

All of this we have done together, with You, our neighbors, hand in hand, at meetings that have run through the night, along with a City Council that Cares and is Commited to bringing the Best Services to our Communities. A City Manager that is commited to seeing Chelsea grow and phenomenal people serving in the various boards doing their best to make Chelsea the varied complex and magnificent place it is to call Home.

It is an pleasure to have the Honor of fighting alongside with you for the betterment of our Chelsea and my little slice of heaven our beloved Soldiers Home!

Changes are in the air.

Did you know, that a long time ago, Chelsea was , get this, a Vacation Destination, yes our own little Chelsea Massachusetts was Elite. We do of course know, because it has been drilled into our heads, the Chelsea that everyone called and wrote about as the Worst Crime City in America or Poorest City in America.

Chelsea has a Mystery about Her! This gorgeous city we call home has been up and down and over but never out, Its a City I Adore and I am So Proud to call Home and my Area of Soldiers Home, the Only Place for My Family.

We have all heard, its not a secret anymore, Chelsea is the New It Place. Yup a place where just 20 years ago our families rented 3 bedroom apartments for $450 everything included, is Now, Once Again, Elite!

They call it Gentrification!

The dictionary defines Gentrification as : Gentrification is a process of changing the character of a neighborhood through the influx of more affluent residents and businesses.

Chelsea is in need of Well Rooted, Caring, Informed and Responsible Leadership. One who understand the struggles of the lifelong residents of Chelsea and will work towards the efforts of helping those residents remain here and welcome our new reality and our new neighbors and make them feel at home just as we were made to feel at home when we first came here, its the Chelsea Way!

There is a balance that the Council needs to be able to strike and that is how to help our well-rooted families that have been here for generations, remain here, it is a struggle that I have pledged to help fight in an effort to alleviate some of the burden being placed by the increasing rents.

How do I help, I am on the Board of Capic, an amazing organization full of wonderful people working to alleviate many of lives problems and particularly Homelessness, Volunteering as an instructor at Chelsea Restoration doing first time home buyer seminars in an effort to help people achieve a part of the American dream and form Roots that call Chelsea their home.

Working alongside the City Manager on a Master Plan which will set the direction the city is going to take for decades to come. This alone needs a council that is knowledgeable with bold leadership that will help bring about a brighter future for Chelsea as it moves into its new and ever changing face while at the same time ensuring that the historical value and character remain intact.

Chelsea matters to me , I have lived here since my arrival from Colombia in 1977, Chelsea and particularly Soldiers Home have been where my New American Roots began to take shape back in 1977 and they never left. Don’t fret my friends, my family and I have maintained every little bit of our heritage from back in Colombia and we enjoy our sancocho y chicharon y pan debono en la manana con cafe.

I cannot function without my dunks in the morning.

My roots are here in Chelsea Soldiers Home, I have my village here, my two beautiful sons and daughter, nieces, nephews, aunts, cousins, my beautiful mom Alda, two amazing sisters and many other extended family.

I love doing my part in protecting our home and I am asking for your Vote to Re-Elect me to serve on your behalf in the Council for our Great area District 2 Soldiers Home!

It has been an Honor serving the needs of our area and know that I do not take Lightly the Responsibility of Representing Our Interest and our Area.

I , Luis Tejada , ask for your vote so that we can continue the fight for an ever improving, never settleling Chelsea and Chelsea Soldiers Home District 2 .

Preliminary elections may happen on Sept. 14, with the countdown to narrow the running mates down to two and then its off to the election in November.

Thank you in advance for participating in the process and for taking the time to read this my message to you my dear friends.

Luis Tejada 617-306-0732, c21tejada@gmail.com.

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Time Rolls On : Bellingham Square Clock Is Repaired

The historic clock in Bellingham Square is right on time.

Thanks to the efforts of the world-renowned Chelsea Clock Company, the clock has been repaired and is now showing the correct time for all 1,440 minutes of each day.

“The clock is fixed – I’m very happy,” proudly reported master horologest Bhupat Patel of Chelsea Clock. “We’re going to come back again to put the new lenses on the glass. The city is going to remove all the rust and repaint the clock.”

Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson was on hand for the relaunching of the clock.

“They did an outstanding job,” said Robinson. “Tom [Ambrosino] had reached out to me to get in touch with Chelsea Clock to fix the clock.”

Robinson is the brother-in-law of long-time Chelsea Clock official D. Bruce Mauch.

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Summer Ball

Juno Bonhomme moves quick around the defender during games for The Movement at Highland Park last Friday, July 26th. The youth summer league is as strong as ever, with games – and a positive scene – taking place every Tuesday and Friday.

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Chelsea Centro : Business Community Looking to Re-Brand, Reinvigorate Downtown

One might have seen the colorful paint job on the gazebo at Bellingham Square and wondered what it was all about.

Well, it’s more than just a colorful paint job.

Rather, it is the first step in what business and City leaders hope will be a coordinated plan for the downtown business district – a plan that has already gained the confidence of state government with Chelsea getting two $20,000 grants to further the project along.

TDI Fellow Carlos Matos, Chamber Foundation President Sergio Jaramillo, Councillor Leo Robinson, and new CHISPA BizLab coordinator Deise Paraguay in front of the newly-painted gazebo in Bellingham Square

Carlos Matos, a fellow assigned to Chelsea from the MassDevelopment Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) program, said the gazebo was just the first piece of several placemaking initiatives they hope to achieve with the Chamber, a new business lab dubbed CHISPA BizLab, and the Chamber Foundation – among many other partners.

“The gazebo was the beginnings of this placemaking and focusing attention on the downtown,” he said. “It’s bright and like the things you’ve seen in Boston. We studied it and these are designs that will resonate with residents of Central America and South America in shape and color. They will also appeal to everyone because it adds color and vibrancy to the area.”

“The initiative is working well so far,” said City Manager Tom Ambrosino. “Hopefully, progress will continue in our efforts to revitalize the Downtown.”

Sergio Jaramillo, who is a long-time Chamber member and the new president of the Chamber Foundation, said they hope to use a coordinated approach to bring life to the downtown, help businesses and make downtown Chelsea a place to be.

“Our desire is to have Chelsea be a destination point for the region – just like Chinatown and the North End and as it is becoming in East Boston,” he said. “We want to have Chelsea be that place they want to come to because of the activities and food and quality of life that is here…Jay Ash was great for building up the coffers of the City again and building up Everett Avenue. I think now we are on the cusp and ready to do the other half of the city.”

Added Matos, “There are great opportunities on Everett Avenue and the question is now how do we transform them from isolated goals to a greater economic impact and draw them to the downtown for that greater economic impact. That’s the challenge we’re working on now.”

An extension of the gazebo branding effort, now being dubbed ‘Chelsea Centro’ as a test run – complete with bags and buttons as promotional tools, is a $20,000 grant from the state that will bring the same bright color scheme to Luther Place – where the successful Night Market has been held twice this summer.

The parking lot/market will be painted in bright colors, and also be painted to accommodate basketball or street soccer – giving it many different opportunities for activation. That will be supplemented by murals on the walls in the same color scheme, and sun shades to protect from the summer heat. That grant is supported by a $55,000 matching grant from the Chamber, which will also help to provide programming for the district.

Chamber Executive Director Rich Cuthie has been very excited about the branding of the downtown using the grant and the Chamber’s resources. He said, like Jaramillo, that the district is on the cusp of something very exciting. That is particularly the case for the storefront improvement program, which has been paved by the passing of new storefront regulations by the City Council this year.

Part of that will be financed by the new CHISPA BizLab, which the state awarded a $20,000 grant to start. That will be supplemented by a $6,000 grant by the Chamber Foundation.

Meaning “spark” in Spanish, CHISPA will help to provide small business technical assistance and advocacy for Latino businesses. It will also serve as a business incubator for new startups in Chelsea’s business district. That assistance will particularly go towards helping the food-related businesses in the district.

Already, CHISPA director Deise Paraguay has started talking to local businesses, officially beginning on July 15. Right now she said she is listening and learning – trying to bring everyone together. She will also act as the organizer of all of the projects involved with the re-branding effort.

Jaramillo said they have hired a company to fly a drone up and down Broadway to highlight the district. Similarly, they have contracted with a professional kitchen to bring in all of the restaurant owners from Broadway to consult with professional chefs. Using traditional recipes, they will work to invigorate their menus and give them new life.

Jaramillo said he is confident that in a few years, the new efforts will all pay off with an enlivened and exciting downtown for residents and those who want to come to Chelsea as a destination.

“I see in a few years that we will have an opportunity for the business community to capture a new market,” he said. “There will be more going on here and it will be more visually interesting for residents and visitors coming here. When people say, ‘Where should we go to dinner?’ They will say they want to go to Chelsea. Creating places where people want to live and visit is the best thing to do.”

Added Matos, “A lot of people are clamoring for authenticity in the places they go to. The places in Cambridge and Somerville are maybe lacking that. We think Chelsea has that authenticity you want and can’t get anywhere else. We want to highlight that, and that’s what we are setting out to do now.”

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