the potential to be spoiled – like many Chelsea commutes – by the often untimely lifting of the Chelsea Street Bridge.
The Bridge is a key pinch point on the new SL-3 route as it heads to and from Chelsea to East Boston and the Seaport. As great as the projected 30-minute ride to South Station sounds, it could easily be thwarted by the Bridge being in the “up” position.
The Chelsea Street Bridge goes up multiple times a day, and from start to finish lasts more than 20 minutes. Such delays could drastically impair the service of the Silver Line.
That was identified as early as last summer as a looming problem for operations of the SL-3 by the MBTA Board.
On Monday, in a presentation to the Board, the MBTA revealed a new software system that will help in trying to mitigate what could totally ruin the reliability of the new service.
The new software will be used by the Chelsea Street Bridge operator, who will notify the MBTA bus dispatch center when the bridge is going up.
The software will provide bus dispatch with estimated duration and projected travel time for each of two possible detours around the Bridge. The dispatch will then use that information to determine the best response for each bus.
MBTA officials said that the Bus Operations Division is in the process of developing a Standard Operating Procedure to divert the SL-3 service in response to the Bridge going up. An alternative roué has been identified and will be tested during various times of the day to project run times and reliability.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) has announced that all RMV services, with the exception of law enforcement, will be unavailable from 7 p.m., March 22 until 8 a.m. March 26 due to the RMV changing over a new computer system that will allow the RMV to comply with federal and state mandates. In addition inspection station locations will be unable to conduct motor vehicle inspections on March 23, 24 or 25, RMV on-line services will be unavailable, and RMV service locations will be closed.
The Registry’s new computer system will enable the Commonwealth to issue federally mandated REAL ID credentials to members of the public who will need a REAL ID credential. REAL ID is a Federal Security Standard for IDs that was created in 2005 as a result of the increased federal security measures after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The new computer system will also have enhanced customer-centric features and more efficient process elements for access by law enforcement, the insurance industry, government entities and professionals who need to engage the Registry. The current RMV system is more than 30 years old.
Between March 22 and March 26, the following services will be unavailable:
Beginning at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 22, motor vehicle inspections will be unavailable at station locations in Massachusetts until the start of business on March 26, at 8 a.m.
Beginning at 7 p.m., March 22, and until 8 a.m., March 26, Registry on-line services will be unavailable.
Registry service locations will be closed on Friday, March 23, and will reopen on Monday, March 26.
AAA branch locations which offer Registry services to AAA members will be unable to do so beginning at 7 p.m., March 22, and until 8 a.m., March 26.
Law enforcement officers will continue to have access to RMV data at all times from March 22 to March 26 through the use of a back-up data file.
For more information regarding RMV service suspension, please visit: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/alert-no-rmv-services.
Another touching Memorial Day Parade and Exercise went off on Monday despite the cold and rain.
The band was there.
The veterans were there: some of them old men and some of them young women.
A Gold Star Mother who lost her son in 2008 spoke to the crowd, and said gatherings like these help her heal.
Schoolchildren even came out on their day off to cheer on the veterans and to make special readings.
But our question is why was there a small number of elected officials.
The attendance at Memorial Day isn’t mandatory for anyone; it’s like the church collection.
We won’t list off names or anything. The fact of the matter is that those who were there know they were there.
We counted six city councillors and three members of the School Committee.
Typically, the municipal elected official ranks in other communities in any Parade is bulging with excited politicians. In this year’s Girl Scout Parade, our political ranks were sparse – putting it kindly.
The trouble is that Memorial Day was a good turnout by historical standards.
The elected officials of this City are expected to set the standard, for being the leaders in the community. They are elected by the people to stand up on times like these to memorialize those that went overseas to protect us and who died in that cause.
The names on the Memorials at City Hall for which our elected officials pass by routinely are the names of real people who lived in Chelsea. Many of their families and friends still live here.
Some of them are old and long forgotten.
But the fact of the matter is there is a large number of young veterans who come to Memorial Day now.
Diana Ramirez is not an old woman, but rather a younger woman who is a Spanish-speaking woman and whose son was only 22 when he died nine years ago. That’s not a long time ago, and there are some people who still remember him.
There is little more that a person like Nelson Rodriguez Ramirez – or any of the other lost men and women memorialized around City Hall – could have done than lay down their lives.
The time has come for everyone and most importantly our elected officials to be at events like these
Other than for anyone who has been living under the proverbial rock for the past few months, it is fair to say that the 2016 Presidential primary election campaign has drawn the most controversy and the most attention in our nation’s history.
There are many reasons for this, chief among them being the candidacies of billionaire businessman Donald Trump on the Republican side and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders on the Democratic side, both of whom have expressed views considered outside of the mainstream of their respective parties and who have energized voting blocs that traditionally do not participate in elections.
Both Trump and Sanders have channeled the anger shared by a large segment of our populace who are frustrated with the current state of affairs in our nation. Though Trump and Sanders come from opposite ends of the political spectrum, their candidacies have demonstrated in stark and clear terms that the great Middle American body politic that has held our nation together for the past four generations has snapped like a rubber band and has recoiled to the far left and to the far right.
Americans of all ages and all education levels (other than the very wealthy) have not seen their standard of living rise in decades, and many have fallen far behind economically. Both Trump and Sanders have promised to restore the American Dream, though by vastly different means of attaining that end.
Furthermore, both Sanders and Trump are benefiting from the overall polarization of our political discourse, which has become a two-edged sword for all of the candidates in both parties.
In addition, this is the first time in eight years that there is not an incumbent President seeking re-election, a factor that enhances interest on both sides of the political spectrum.
So we urge every resident to go to the polls to cast their vote for the candidate of their choice. For the first time in a while, our votes in Massachusetts really will matter in the contests for delegates for both the Democrats and Republicans.
We would note that voters who are unenrolled in either party (Massachusetts uses the term unenrolled for independent) are eligible to vote Tuesday. An unenrolled voter declares a party at the check-in table at the polling location and will be given the ballot for the party requested. Unenrolled voters automatically will revert to unenrolled status for future elections.
There is a lot at stake in this year’s Presidential election. We urge every citizen to exercise their right to vote for the candidate of their choosing.
The Boards of Directors of the Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home Foundation, Inc. (CJF) and Aviv Centers for Living, Inc. (Aviv) announced Wednesday that the two organizations are combining to serve seniors north of Boston.
Together they will become the largest senior living non-profit organization on the North Shore, and CJF will manage the Aviv properties. CJF has been growing with such agreements, announcing a similar merger with Annemark Nursing Home in Revere a few years ago.
CJF was founded in Chelsea and operates innovative models of care which include skilled and short-term rehab residences, traditional and specialized assisted living options, independent living residences, educational programs, home care, personal care and hospice agencies serving more than 500 individuals.
Aviv is dedicated to enriching the lives of residents and program participants, and provides an integrated system of care on a single campus in Peabody. They offer assisted living, skilled nursing, adult day health, short-term rehabilitation, homecare and geriatric care management and currently serves more than 300 residents and patients.
The Chelsea Jewish Foundation (CJF) management team will operate the combined organization. Peabody-based Aviv will continue to provide services under that name as well as the names of its individual facilities – the Waldfogel Health Center, Shapiro-Rudolph Adult Day Health, and the Woodbridge Assisted Living complex.
Said Eric S. Levy, Chair of the Aviv Board of Directors, “Nearly two years ago, cognizant of the changing health care environment, our Board set a strategic goal of developing a long term plan that would ensure the continuation of Aviv’s mission for generations to come, and over the past year we explored a wide range of potential affiliations and structures in order to accomplish that goal.
“This comprehensive process opened many conversations and enabled us to examine many potential opportunities,” Levy continued. “Today we are confident that combining with the Chelsea Jewish Foundation, given its 90-plus-year history and health care management expertise, along with our shared missions and values, ensures that our community will be well-served now and in the future.”
CJF CEO Barry Berman said the combination makes great sense in today’s environment.
“Chelsea Jewish is honored to carry on the responsibility for Aviv’s 70-year commitment to providing the highest quality health care, living options and support services for seniors,” said Berman. “Joining these two organizations together makes a great deal of sense at this point in time, given the complexities of a vastly-changed and evolving health care system.”
Added Adam Berman, president of CJF, “This is a tremendous opportunity to serve the growing senior population in Greater Boston, and combining only expands and enhances our ability to support and serve the community.”
CJF employs more than 600 individuals.
Aviv Centers for Living has been setting the standard for senior care on the North Shore of Massachusetts since 1945.
High-ranking members of the Chelsea Fire Department (CFD) and Fire Union officials said this week after conducting a risk assessment of the new FBI building response requirements they are nowhere near ready to handle such a facility.
That comes, however, in direct contradiction to the opinion of City Manager Jay Ash, who doesn’t believe the new facility will require any extraordinary staff increases from the CFD.
“Right now, we’re nowhere near ready to handle that kind of impact,” said Deputy Chief John Quatieri. “There are a lot of concerns there for the department. We have a lot of restrictions in our responses there. We met with them and we couldn’t even see the floor plans due to the nature of the building. There’s also a lot of accountability things we have to learn and prepare for. For instance, we cannot even use our radios when we’re in there…Like it or not, their buildings are an absolute target hazard and there are a lot of things to be prepared for and we have a lot of work ahead of us if we’re going to be anywhere near ready.”
That was echoed by Fire Union President Brian Capistran, who said dangerous responses and staffing concern his membership the most when talking about the FBI building.
“The concerns we have are about staffing and how we will have an adequate response to that building,” he said. “We’re hand-in-hand with the command staff on this issue. We’re definitely not ready. We’re unable to respond in the ways that Boston responds right now to the existing FBI building. We only have 17 firefighters on a shift right now. Boston sends a response of 36 at a minimum.”
City Manager Jay Ash said he has heard the concerns, but does not believe the FBI facility would require any more or less of a response than existing office buildings in Chelsea – hinting that the concerns of the department might be related to a continued desire to get more staffing.
“We are adequately staffed to handle all needs in the city presently and as foreseen by approved future projects, including responding to a fire emergency at that building once it is built,” he said this week. “In fact, the Matrix fire study confirms just that. There are some in the Fire Department who want more personnel and equipment to be placed into service. However, our study does indicate that we are staffed to meet the services we need to provide. We do continue to consider all requests from all departments about expansion desires, but we do have a limited capacity to meet those expansion requests…There should be an emergency plan created for the building, just as there is for other buildings in the city, but our study indicates that our regular plan of responding to an emergency there is appropriate.”
He said the FBI building would not even be the tallest building in the city, and would really be mostly offices and office workers.
“The proposed federal office building will not be the tallest building in the city, will not be the biggest in terms of square footage, and is generally an office building with office type work being done in it,” he continued. “It is no different than many other federal office buildings around the state and country and it will have a security plan that will meet the needs of its workers and interface with our public safety respondents. If we were proposing to build something out of the ordinary, like a power plant, I think those concerns would be more valid. However, this project, while high profile, is very similar to many other buildings in Chelsea and exactly like numerous buildings around the country.”
Fire officials, however, (both union and administrative) point to an analysis completed earlier this summer by the CFD (July 14) after meeting with the FBI and going over a risk assessment on July 8.
One of the key concerns in the analysis is the fact that Chelsea Fire lacks the staffing that Boston currently devotes to the existing FBI building in downtown Boston.
For example, the July report cites that on a simple alarm call, Boston sends 10 companies with 36 firefighters to the scene. Chelsea Fire would only be able to send 6 companies of 17 firefighters.
If there is a call for smoke showing in the FBI high-rise in Boston, the Boston Fire Department sends 16 companies of 49 firefighters. Once again, Chelsea Fire would only be able to send 6 companies with 17 firefighters to such an emergency.
That, the report states, is particularly troubling for protecting the new FBI building and for protecting the safety of firefighters.
“This is a decisive tactical problem for the Chelsea Fire Department as there are not adequate resources to handle a 1st alarm response for a building of this type,” read the Department’s report. “According to the 2013 Matrix Report, the initial response of 50-51 personnel is required to effectively operate at a facility such as the FBI. The Boston Fire Department clearly recognizes this fact and has planned accordingly. The Chelsea Fire Department is not adequately prepared to effectively respond to a building of this type.”
Another major concern of the report is preparing for the worst, and in the case of an FBI headquarters, the worst is a terrorist attack such as occurred in 1995 at the Oklahoma City federal building. As a refresher, that tragedy killed 168 people, including many children at a daycare, and damaged more than 300 buildings in a 16-block radius.
Such an attack on the new Chelsea FBI building would affect nearly all of the western part of the City, and also parts of surrounding cities.
In the CFD analysis, there is a belief that they could not handle that kind of emergency – even with outside help.
“Understandably, the department will also need to prepare for worst-case scenarios such as the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995,” read the report. “This was a domestic terrorist bomb attack on a federal facility similar to the one proposed in Chelsea. A bomb was detonated in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. The bombing claimed 168 lives and injured more than 680 people. The blast destroyed or damaged 324 buildings within a 16-block radius, destroyed or burned 86 cars, and shattered glass in 258 nearby buildings.”
In the end of that section, the report concludes that Chelsea’s existing staffing and preparedness are not in any way ready to handle a facility like the new FBI building.
“Currently, the department does not have appropriate staffing to sufficiently administer the many levels of ICS necessary to manage an incident at the proposed FBI facility,” read the report. “Emergency response to the FBI facility will be tumultuous at best. The department does not presently meet the National Standard for a high-rise fire response.”
Capistran said bringing in the FBI facility without completely addressing fire, haz-mat and terrorism responses would be a mistake.
“People say that because of all the fires we have and the way we have been able to knock them down and really preserve a lot of personal property and have had no fatalities, that we’re doing a very good job,” he said. “That may be true, but we’re also just lucky. We’re gambling every day on every shift. We have gambled and gotten lucky. We think it will catch up to us if we don’t address these things.”
Retired Chelsea Firefighter and Fire Inspector; led Chelsea Fire Department Color Guard; Served on Pop Warner Board of Directors
Robert R. “Sarge” Dion, Sr. of Huntington Beach, California, formerly of Chelsea, passed into eternal rest with his loving family at his side on July 25 at Long Beach Veterans Hospital in Long Beach, California. He was 85 years old.
He was a US Marine who fought in Korea and was one of the “Chosin Few Members” from the “Chosin River Battle.”
“Sarge” retired from the Chelsea Fire Department as a Fire Inspector in March of 1982. He was the founder and leader of the Chelsea Fire Department Color Guard established in 1970 and served on the Pop Warner Board of Directors in 1972-1973.
He was the loving husband of Joan (Forti) Dion with whom he shared 55 years of marriage; the father of Robert, Jr. and his wife, Paula of Los Angeles, California, Michael and his ife, Yvette of Menisee, California, Dennise Dion Merhoff of Hungtington Beach, California and the grandfather of six: Montana (USMC), Madison, Michelle, Mason, Dominque and Mitchell.
Services were held at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, Huntington Beach on August 1. Private burial will be held at a later date at the Riverside Veterans Cemetery in Riverside, California. Memorial donation may be made to the Wounded Warriors Project.
Proprietor of Romano Roofing
Angelo Romano of Chelsea died on August 17 after a brief illness. He was 69 years old.
Angelo was the proprietor of Romano Roofing, a member the Revere Loyal Order of Moose 1272, the Sons of Italy and the VFW Mottolo Post.
He was the husband of Doris (Smith) Romano; beloved father of Maria Romano and Leslie Crespo of Revere, Angelo J. Jr. of Peabody, Alison Addario and her husband, Steven of Boxford and Janine Romano of Chelsea; loving son of the late Guiseppe and Maria (Salemi) Romano; dear brother of Carlo of Maryland and Anthony “Pino” of California; loving grandfather of Steven III, Isabella, Matthew, Ayla and an expected grandson in October. Angelo was the proprietor of Romano Roofing.
His Funeral will be held from the Paul Buonfiglio & Sons-Bruno Funeral Home, 128 Revere St., Revere today, Thursday, August 21 at 9 a.m. Followed by a Funeral Mass in St. Anthony’s Church at 10 a.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Angelo’s memory to the charity of your choice. To share a memory or condolence or to sign the online guestbook, please visit www.Buonfiglio.com
Armando Lopez passed away in his Chelsea home on August 6.
He was born and raised in Honduras and has been a Chelsea resident for many years. He is survived by his wife, Juana Lopez of Chelsea, his children, grandchildren and many other relatives and friends.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at St. Rose Church on Wednesday, August 20. Interment followed at Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett. Funeral Arrangements were entrusted to the care and direction of the Frank A. Welsh and Sons Funeral Home.
Robert ‘Bob’ Wasson
Retired deisel mechanic, Member of VFW and International Brotherhood of Machinists
Robert W. “Bob” Wasson passed away on Monday, August 18 at the Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington after a suffering a major stroke days earlier. He was 81 years old.
Born in Chelsea, he was the beloved son of the late Vernon L. and Florence J. (Ryan) Wasson.
Bob was raised in Everett where he attended and graduated from Everett High School. Immediately after graduating from high school, Bob enlisted in the USAF serving during the Korean Conflict and was honorably discharged in 1956 at the rank of Sergeant. He returned to Chelsea where he married Jeanette E. “Mitzie” (Richard) and together they began raising their family in Chelsea before settling in Saugus nearly 50 years ago.
Bob was preceded in death by his beloved wife “Mitzie” in 2007 after sharing 54 years of marriage. He worked as a diesel mechanic for Clark & Wilcox in Allston for 30 years, repairing cranes, bulldozers, tractors and other types of heavy earth moving equipment. He was also employed as the onboard diesel mechanic aboard the “Gunners Mate” a private 55’ vessel docked in Revere. He later worked for Deck House manufactured homes in Alton, NH from the mid 80’s until retiring in 1997. He was a member of the V.F.W. Post 2346 Saugus and International Brotherhood of Machinists.
Bob took great pride and pleasure repairing various types of motors and machines; He loved time spent outdoors in northern New England, Maine and New Hampshire and sharing time with his grandchildren. He was the devoted father of Michael Wasson and his wife, Angela, Mark Wasson and his wife, Paula, all of Billerica and John Wasson and his wife, Debbie of Peabody; dear brother of Maureen and Patricia; cherished grandfather of Tyler, Daniel and Bobby Wasson. He is also survived by many nieces, nephews and his canine companion “Mischief.”
His funeral services will be conducted from the Frank A. Welsh & Sons Funeral Home, 718 Broadway, Chelsea on Friday, August 22 at 10 a.m.Services will conclude with interment at Evergreen Cemetery in Pembroke, New Hampshire. Relatives and friends are most kindly invited to attend. Visiting hours will be held at the Welsh Funeral Home today, Thursday from 4 to 8 p.m. The Funeral Home is fully handicap accessible, ample parking opposite Funeral Home. Should friends desire, contributions in his memory may be made to “My Brothers Table” 98 Willow St., Lynn, Ma 01901. For directions or to send expressions of sympathy, please visit www.WelshFuneralHome.com
Former meat cutter at Colonial Provisions
Having endured lung cancer for the past two years, Jesus Iraola passed away at the age of 68 on Saturday, August 16 at the Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers.
Jesus, who was born and raised in Arroyo Puerto Rico, was the beloved son of the late Faustino and Evarista Vega Iraola. He received his early education in Puerto Rico.
As a young man he settled in Boston’s South End before moving to Chelsea nearly 30 years ago. He worked as a meat cutter at Colonial Provisions in Dorchester and received a disability retirement several years ago.
He is survived by his beloved companion and fiancée Flor Vega also of Chelsea. He was the dear father of Jesus R. Iraolaand his wife, Gladys of Whitman, Ricardo Iraolo of Chelsea, William E. Iraolaof Hyde Park and Noeida Gamarra and her husband, Jonathan of Oceanside, New York; the dear brother of Benito, Antonio, Angel Luis and Lucia Iraola, Maria Adela Irizarry, Norma Iris and the late Gilberto Iraola. He is also survived by his former wife Virginia Lebron, 15 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
His funeral will begin from the Frank A. Welsh & Sons Funeral Home, 718 Broadway, Chelsea today, Thursday, August 21 at 9 a.m. followed by a Funeral Mass at St. Rose Church, 600 Broadway, Chelsea at 10 a.m. Relatives and friends are most kindly invited to attend. For directions or to send expressions of sympathy, please visit www.WelshFuneralHome.com.
Talented seamstress; worked at Standard Box and waitressed at French Club in Chelsea
Bernice (Arsenault) DeRoche passed away on August 14 at the Bear Hill Rehabilitation and Nursing Center in Stoneham where she has been receiving supportive care for the last eight months. She was 94 years old.
Born and raised in Chelsea, she was the beloved daughter of the late Emile and Jenny (Perry) Arsenault. She attended local schools and was married to Hector DeRoche,they settled and resided in Chelsea for many years. Her husband passed away in 1982.
Bernice worked outside of her home as a machine operator for Standard Box. She was also a talented seamstress and produced custom made slipcovers and pillowcases from her home. She also worked as a waitress at the French Club in Chelsea. She retired from Standard Box and waitressing but she continued her custom sewing well into her eighties.
In addition to her husband, she was also preceded in death by her son, Robert DeRoche in 2003; her sister, Eva Polito; her brothers, Tilmon Arsenault, Edward Arsenault and Larry Arsenault. She is survived by her daughter in law Joan DeRoche of Alton Bay, NH, a son, Stephen Corder DeRoche of Danvers; her sisters: Dorothy LeGeres of Canada, Marie Garrett of Lafayette LA, Noel Arsenault of South Carolina, Theresa O’Driscoll of Chelsea, Lorraine Barnacle of Missouri, Doris Doucette of Reading and Margaret Porrazzo of North Carolina. She is also survived by five grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, four great great-grandchildren and many nieces nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Revere on August 19. Should friends desire, contributions in her memory can be made to the “Activity Fund” at Bear Hill Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, 11 North St., Stoneham, MA 02180. Funeral Arrangements were entrusted to the care and direction of the Frank A. Welsh and Sons Funeral Home. To send expressions of sympathy, please visit www.WelshFuneralHome.com.
At least two city councillors would like to have more information and a second look at the use of tasers by the Chelsea Police Department – especially following the death of one man two weeks ago who had gotten tased during a violent altercation with police.
The Hawthorne Street death, however, is not currently being blamed on the tasing, but rather the man could have died from a heroin overdose. After being tased and handcuffed and being administered NARCAN (an overdose reversal drug), the man went unconscious.
He died later at the Whidden Hospital.
However, Councillors Giovanni Recupero and Joe Perlatonda – both frequent critics of the local police – said they have heard of other incidents involving tasers and would like to have a public discussion about their use and the training involved.
“People are concered due to the last person over that died after being tased,” said Perlatonda. “I guess last Saturday on the corner of Central and Marginal Street, someone was trying to steal copper or lumber from the new hotel building site. The police arrived on the scene and ended up tasing the guy. Councillor Recupero and I are very concerned.”
Recupero pointed out that most of the tasing events that have happened are in either his district or Perlatonda’s district.
He said he isn’t necessarily against tasers, but would like to have more information about how they’re being used and if the police are monitoring their usage.
Tasers are wildly popular with police officers on the front lines all over the area. In Chelsea, they’ve already been shown to reduce the amounts of assaults on police officers – incidents that often lead to injuries and health problems for officers.
Other neighboring cities, including Revere, are looking to Chelsea’s program to see if such weapons would be a good addition in that city.
As part of standard taser training, any officer who carries a taser must be hit by it first. That is so that they know how it feels and don’t overdo the tasing of suspects.
“It might be worth us getting some more information if these events are going to be happening more often,” said Perlatonda.
Gov. Deval Patrick led the charge Wednesday morning in the groundbreaking ceremonies for the Flats@22 housing project that is underway on Gerrish Avenue. The fete also marked the completion of the Flats@44, which is currently 80 percent leased. Together, they offer 96 new rental housing units.
City leaders, state leaders and officials from The Neighborhood Developers and Mitchell Properties celebrated one milestone on Wednesday morning with the completion of the Flats@44 and, at the same time, broke ground on another project that is just about to begin.
Gov. Deval Patrick was the special guest attending the groundbreaking, which officially got the Flats@22 off the ground. The project is part of the overall Box District and contains several units just completed at 44 Gerrish Ave. and many more units on the way at 22 Gerrish Ave.
Partnering with TND once again was Bart Mitchell of Mitchell Properties.
“I want to make note of this project using the HDIP program (Housing Development Incentive Plan),” said Gov. Patrick. “The Flats@44 is the first EDIP project to be done. We congratulate you on that…We can chart our own future. We don’t have to wait for it to come to us. We can go out and get it. An example of that is a project like this. The basic blocking and tackling of what we do to build housing opportunities, create transportation solutions and provide good schools. We can bring it together.”
Patrick also acknowledged the beginnings of construction on the right-of-way behind the Box District project that will soon become the Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit line, something he announced in Chelsea last fall.
Council President Matt Frank said it is hard to believe what has happened in the Box District over the last seven years.
“Years ago I was on the Planning Board and we were in subcommittee talking about this neighborhood,” he said. “It’s great to see those fuzzy plans we had become real buildings here today.”
That was echoed by State Sen. Sal DiDomenico.
“Chelsea has had a resurgence,” he said. “My mom grew up in this neighborhood. It’s amazing we have a neighborhood like this on a street people didn’t even want to drive through and now they are waiting in line to live here. That’s incredible.”
The Flats@44 offers 41 market rate and five affordable rental housing units for residents and is currently 80 percent leased. It included the rehabilitation of the old industrial Standard Box building along with construction of a new modular building.
The Flats@22 will be another mixed-income project using affordable housing resources. There will be 50 units of rental housing in the building, with 21 units being affordable, or subsidized, housing.
The two projects will likely be the last additions of housing in the Box District, which has had seven major housing projects since 2007 pumped into the formerly derelict stretch of industrial buildings.
The HDIP program provided a state income tax credit of up to 10 percent. The Flats@44 project will receive approximately $830,000 in state income tax credits and will also receive a local Chelsea real estate tax break.
Advocates and attorneys on both sides of the table in the pension hearing of former Chelsea Housing Authority (CHA) Director Michael McLaughlin have agreed to continue the long-awaited hearing until more information is available, sources close to the issue told the Record.
While the Retirement Board could ditch the unilateral requests and go ahead with a hearing at its regular meeting today, Aug. 22, it’s highly unlikely.
Sources told the Record that CHA attorneys from Nixon Peabody, attorneys for McLaughlin, CHA Attorney Susan Whalen and attorneys representing the Retirement Board have all agreed that a continuance for the hearing would be prudent right now.
Last month, the Retirement Board called for a mandated hearing to review the pension of McLaughlin following his sentencing in Federal Court on July 17th. That mandated hearing would take away the state’s contributions to McLaughlin’s pension, which is rather standard given the conviction. However, the Board issued a bit of a surprise in calling for a specialized hearing that would look to also take away McLaughlin’s own contributions and award them to the injured party, in this case the CHA.
There were more than $200,000 in his own contributions that would be considered, the Board said at the time.
Those hearings were set for the August meeting, which is today, Aug. 22.
However, in a letter completed Wednesday and filed on Wednesday, sources said Nixon Peabody lawyers argued to continue the hearings until more information is learned about ongoing investigations at the state level into McLaughlin’s activities, multiple sources said.
That same letter cited a November 2011 continuance granted by the Board to hold off on any action in the McLaughlin pension matter until the Federal Court matter had been resolved.
The letter indicated that there was $900,000 in funds that could be proven to be fraudulent and another $7 million in funds from the Capital Improvement Fund that is alluded to in a letter to the CHA from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and in light of those large sums still out there, it would be prudent to wait and see what happens.
By midday on Wednesday, all parties in the matter had agreed that taking a wait and see approach would be best.
The Retirement Board is likely to follow suit at its meeting today, Aug. 22.
However, if the Board moves forward, the letter from Nixon Peabody indicated that they were ready to show and prove that there is $900,000 of proven malfeasance and fraud that they can point to.