This article originally appeared in the Charlestown Patriot-Bridge on July 29, 2016.
By John Lynds
In order to remain as transparent as possible regarding the enormous project to replace the aging Bunker Hill Housing Development in Charlestown, the developer and Boston Housing Authority have launched a website to keep the public informed.
Corcoran-SunCal, in partnership with the BHA, launched the ‘One Charlestown’ website that can be found at www.OneCharlestown.com.
The website will provide Charlestown residents with constant updates, design and planning information, a review of the public engagement process and partnership with the Resident Working Group, as well as images and schematics as the project moves forward.
“We have strived for transparency and a deep level of public engagement since this process began,” said Joseph Corcoran, President of Corcoran Jennison Associates. “OneCharlestown.com was the next natural step for us as we continue to seek out feedback from the community and educate the public about our project. We believe that One Charlestown will re-envision the future of the Bunker Hill Public Housing Development and we are excited for what lies ahead.”
For decades the Bunker Hill Housing Development has been an isolated section of the community with Bunker Hill Street being the dividing line between two Charlestowns.
Corcoran-SunCal is hoping to change the disconnect between the Housing Development and the rest of the community as the embark on transforming the state’s oldest and largest public housing development.
Corcoran-SunCal and the BHA have dubbed the project “One Charlestown” because the motto best describes the goal to create a mixed-income community where new public housing units are alongside market and moderate-rate housing. The project will also bring the housing development out of isolation by reconnecting historic streets, adding shops and commerce as well as community parks and other amenities.
Over the past seven months, Corcoran-SunCal and the BHA have worked with residents of the Bunker Hill Public Housing Development to establish a Resident Working Group that has assisted in the initial design and planning of One Charlestown.
Members of the Resident Working Group met regularly in late2015 and early this year, sharing their priorities, values, and hopes for the redevelopment project.
In June, Corcoran-SunCal and the BHA held a meeting involving the entire community at the Harvard Kent School where over 200 residents provided feedback. The meeting also allowed residents to get a glimpse of design plans for the project.
“We support the efforts of the Corcoran-SunCal team to engage residents and surrounding community stakeholders in the planning and design process from the beginning,” said Boston Housing Authority Administrator Bill McGonagle. “OneCharlestown.com will allow for this ongoing dialogue to continue while also informing the broader community about the redevelopment efforts taking place.”
Corcoran-SunCal plans to raze the housing development and replace the 1,100 affordable units. The current plan callsfor approximately 3,200 units altogether, replacing all 1,100 current units of public housing and adding 2,100 additional units. All current residents will have the right to return to the new development.