2017 BOOKS


MAYOR WALSH ANNOUNCES CHRISTINE POFF AS DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY PRESERVATION COMMITTEE

Director to manage all aspects of CPA program; work with committee to make recommendations for use of CPA funding

Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the selection of Christine Poff, of Jamaica Plain, as Director of the Community Preservation Committee, a newly established position and committee that will shape the future of investments in Boston's neighborhoods with funds contributed through the Community Preservation Act (CPA).

In November 2016, Boston voters approved adoption of the Massachusetts Community Preservation Act (CPA), which will generate millions of dollars of revenue to be used for the creation and acquisition of affordable housing, historic preservation, open space and recreation.

"I am incredibly pleased to welcome Christine to this new role as Director of the Community Preservation Committee, which will have an important role in ensuring that the funding captured through the CPA is re-invested in our communities," said Mayor Walsh. "Christine is someone who for many years has been actively involved with organizations that improve the communities around them, and I look forward to continuing that work with her in this new capacity."

As part of the City's plan to oversee the investments made through the adoption of the CPA, Mayor Walsh is working in partnership with the Boston City Council to form a Community Preservation Committee (CPC) that will study community preservation needs and make recommendations on how CPA funds should be allocated. The funding of any project requires a recommendation from the committee and appropriation by the City.

The Director of the CPC is responsible for managing all aspects of the CPA Program, including staffing the CPC; coordinating the application process for granting CPA funds; managing the CPA budget and CPA grants; and managing special projects related to the CPA.

"Christine Poff's appointment as the Community Preservation Committee Director makes sense," said City Councilor Michael Flaherty. "Her years of advocacy for our city gives her the experience to guide the Community Preservation Committee in a fair and equitable manner. I look forward to working with Christine, the Community Preservation Committee, and the Mayor as we continue to move Boston forward."

The Director will work closely with staff from City departments, as well as members of the community, to determine need, ensure transparency in the application process and funding awards, and complete annual reports on CPA projects and expenditures.

"I'm so honored to be at the helm of Boston's new Community Preservation Program," said Christine Poff. "When I think about this City I love, it's the three CPA components that feel most vital going forward: affordable housing - a basic human right; greenspace that enhances quality of life for everyone; and historic preservation to maintain our neighborhood gems. I can't wait to work with Mayor Walsh and his team, the City Council, and community members across Boston to make our City the best it can be."

Prior to her appointment as Director of CPC, Poff served as Political Director of the National Association of Social Workers, where she advocated for economic and social justice bills at the Massachusetts State House. Before that, Poff served for nearly 15 years as Executive Director of the Franklin Park Coalition (FPC), a nonprofit organization that serves as a community voice for Franklin Park, where she worked to bring back beloved park institutions including the Elma Lewis Playhouse, the FPC Youth Crew and the annual Kite and Bike Festival. She also began a citywide network of park leaders, the Boston Park Advocates, to help bring attention to the City's open spaces.

Poff earned a Master of Social Work degree from the City University of New York (Hunter College), and a Bachelor Degree from Wellesley College. In addition, she was a member of the 2011 Class of Barr Fellows. She is a 25-year resident of Jamaica Plain, where she resides with her two sons, who graduated from Boston Public Schools.

About the Community Preservation Act (CPA)

By adopting the CPA in November 2016, the City has created a Community Preservation Fund. This fund is capitalized primarily by a one percent property tax-based surcharge on residential and business property tax bills, that began in July 2017. The City will use this revenue to fund initiatives consistent with CPA guidelines: affordable housing, historic preservation, open space and public recreation.

For more information about the Community Preservation Act, visti their website


2017 CALENDAR

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MAYOR WALSH UNVEILS NEWLY RENOVATED CITY HALL LOBBY

Completed renovations to the third floor lobby make City Hall more accessible, welcoming

Building on Boston's commitment to make City services more accessible, welcoming and efficient, Mayor Martin J. Walsh today unveiled the completed renovation of City Hall's third floor lobby. The lobby, which is the main public entrance to City Hall, underwent extensive renovations that include a welcome desk; new security enhancements; a coffee shop; an accessible and interactive self-service information kiosk capable of multiple language translations; new art installations throughout the building; new millwork and seating; and replacement of interior lighting with energy-efficient LED lights that complement the recently-installed exterior lighting.

"We're dedicated to making Boston City Hall a positive, welcoming experience for all residents, and this renovation is another leap forward," said Mayor Walsh. "City Hall is a historic building that belongs to everyone, and I'm pleased that our renovations improve experiences for all visitors. The operational and architectural enhancements make the building easier to navigate and and will improve service for all of Boston's residents."

"Through this renovation, we have improved and enlivened Boston City Hall and City Hall Plaza," said Chief of Operations Patrick Brophy. "Our strategic investment in all public buildings and open space throughout Boston is designed to improve government efficiency and the public's experience with its valuable infrastructure and resources."

Updates to the lobby include:

Welcome desk: A new welcome desk located in the center of the lobby. The welcome desk will be staffed with BOS: 311 greeters and provide information on City department locations. A larger monitor will display the current events calendar and stream City data with information on assorted topics. New lobby signage includes locations of City departments and a touchscreen with a multilingual self-service information kiosk.

New self-service kiosks: The self-service touchscreen kiosk will provide users information on the most asked-for services inside and outside of City Hall. Additionally, the kiosk can provide information in six languages: English, Spanish, Chinese, Creole/Cape Verdean, Portuguese and Vietnamese. The data coordinates with the City of Boston website for seamless interactions. The new system is easy to update and keep current to meet the public's needs.

Sustainable and cost-effective lighting: The lobby lights have been replaced with sustainable LED fixtures that will enliven the space and allow flexible lighting configurations. The fixtures will provide appropriate light levels for the lobby and are aimed to illuminate the light wells, structural beams and multi-level platforms and features of City Hall's lobby. The interior lights will have the ability to change color and intensity to provide program flexibility and will coordinate with the exterior lighting design. Additionally, the lobby's new energy-efficient LED lights have an estimated 20 year life span that will significantly decrease the City's annual operating costs.

Improved security: The new security equipment and layout will significantly reduce security lines and wait time for visitors and staff. Security equipment re-positioning allows for a better flow through the lobby.

New art installations: With this renovation, Mayor Walsh unveiled four new murals within Boston City Hall. A mural that serves as a backdrop for City Hall weddings faces the City Clerk's office on the sixth floor. Two murals depicting Boston's circles, squares, and corners were installed on the seventh and eighth floors. The fourth installation is located on the ninth floor outside of the Boston Planning and Development Agency. Additionally, a Flag of Valor has been added to the 3rd floor lobby.

"The Boston Preservation Alliance is encouraged and enthusiastic about the investment and new perspective Mayor Walsh and his team have brought to Boston's remarkable City Hall," said Greg Galer, Executive Director of the Boston Preservation Alliance. "Thanks to work already done, Bostonians are gaining a new appreciation for this important piece of architecture, and we see a growing recognition for the great potential this building holds. Functional and aesthetic enhancements to the building's unique design are happening piece by piece, and this new work on the lobby is a critical step to reintroducing Boston to our award-winning and nationally significant City Hall."

"Upon entry, visitors and staff at City Hall will encounter a light filled lobby with a new information desk, signage and building directory," said Josiah Stevenson FAIA, 2017 Boston Society of Architects President. "These changes, together with the introduction of an innovative, energy efficient system of LED lighting that connects the building's interior and exterior, create a welcoming experience at a pleasing human scale."

The City Hall renovations began in January of 2017. The project cost an estimated $2.1 million. Last month, the City welcomed a local, minority woman-owned Recreo Coffee and Roasterie to Boston City Hall, as the first stage of the new lobby design. In October 2016, Mayor Walsh unveiled Boston City Hall's architectural exterior lighting installation, a permanent fixture to highlight and enhance the building's original design while livening up City Hall Plaza and increasing public safety.

Lobby renovations are part of the City's plan to make City Hall Plaza a more activated, inclusive space for all. Additional projects include "Boston Seasons" which features a summer picnic area on City Hall Plaza and established Boston Winter, a family-friendly winter holiday market and skating path, on City Hall Plaza last winter.


Education Advocates Back Mayor Walsh’s Efforts at State House

Mayor Walsh Proposes Reforms to State Education Funding Models to Benefit Boston Public Schools' Students

Education advocates from Boston praised a package of bills proposed by Mayor Marty Walsh that were heard in the State House that will continue the Mayor’s work improving Boston Public Schools for students in every neighborhood. The legislation includes expanding resources for high need students and increasing funding to ensure a high quality Pre-K seat for every 4-year old in Boston.

Several bills in the Mayor's legislative agenda on education will:

Close the "quality gap" in pre-kindergarten seats in Boston by Fiscal Year 2025 by creating hundreds more quality pre-kindergarten seats, which would be funded by redirecting surplus revenue raised in Boston from the Convention Center Fund to the City of Boston. This proposal would invest in the Mayor’s goals of providing free, high-quality pre-kindergarten for every four-year-old in Boston by dedicating $16.5 million to early education in Boston.

Fix the Chapter 70 Education Aid Formula for communities that spend beyond state guidelines and serve high cost populations, but do not receive significant education aid increases.

Reform charter school financing by reducing the state's overall liability while returning to a true partnership between the Commonwealth and its cities and towns.

Adjust the charter school per-pupil tuition calculation to recognize the full transition costs for students leaving BPS to attend charter schools, rather than just the amount funded through the transition funding formula.

Education advocates, educators, and parents expressed their support:

Jennifer Rossi, PhD

Charlestown Resident, BPS parent, Co-President Charlestown Mothers Association

“As a BPS parent whose daughter was fortunate to receive a pre-K spot three years ago, I wholeheartedly support the Mayor’s efforts.  K1 was an incredibly impactful year and my daughter learned a lot both academically and emotionally.  The presence of strong schools builds a strong and cohesive community.  In Charlestown, access to a high-quality public education in our own neighborhood has resulted in many more families remaining in the neighborhood to raise their children.”

Erin Murphy

Dorchester Resident, Educator

“I was born and raised in Dorchester and stayed in this amazing city to raise my own family and work. I have been a Boston Public School teacher for the past twenty years and was a proud parent last year when my daughter graduated from a BPS high school. I work with our youngest children and see first hand how important it is to provide a high quality preschool opportunity for all our three and four year olds across the city. I supported Mayor Walsh when he ran the first time because I knew he was committed to funding more K0 and K1 seats across the city and understood that this would help close the achievement gap and support our ESL students. Every child deserves a safe, supportive and enriching start to school and Mayor Walsh will continue to fight for that.”

Terrance Johnson

Dorchester Resident, Educator

“Working with high school students, you see the immediate effects of the achievement gaps.  Mayor Walsh attacks this head on with through the office of engagement with campaigns and initiatives that target children starting at age one! Closing the literacy gap, he has the Talk Replay Campaign; for early classroom experience, he has the playgroup through the Countdown to Kindergarten Program and just recently, an attendance campaign was started specifically for kindergarteners.  He understands that community outreach is the first step toward narrowing that achievement gap.”

Mary Kinsella Scannell

Vice President of Education, Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester

“There is no quick fix solution to the education system, but the efforts put forth by his administration thus far have been noteworthy.  Mayor Walsh understands that it will take a collaborative effort to restore the fragmented parts and a cooperative spirit to reinforce the strengths. His talent in bringing the schools, community based organizations, and other civic partners together has been innovative and valued.  His down-to-earth attitude lends itself to his commitment to capitalize now in Early Education and Care. Investing time and resources in the healthy development of young children in our community pays off. By now, we all know that there are future economic savings, reduced social challenges, and increased academic success to be gained, however the truth is that many of these outcomes may not be measured and the future success of the children involved most likely will not be credited to Mayor Walsh’s decision to create a high-quality Universal Preschool Program. That honestly does not matter to him. He is moving forward in this effort with the lasting benefits for every child and the long-term prosperity of Boston in mind.  Leaders and policymakers in Massachusetts have an exceptional opportunity to bring high quality preschool to the low and moderate income children they serve and I hope they follow the lead of Mayor Walsh.”

Cuc Nguyen

Dorchester Resident, Parent

“I came to this program because I had learned that it was very good from some people in my community. I was working and needed childcare because my mom could not care for my kid anymore. Since my kids came here, I learned that it is much more than just a child care program. They are learning so much and love to come every day. I am learning along with my kids. I attend the parent groups and talk to the teachers each day. I can appreciate the positive and warm interactions the teachers have with my children. I like how the families are a part of the program and are supported in many ways that are not even about school. I am happy Mayor Martin Walsh understands that although this is the first step in education it is the most important step for children. They will have a good feeling about going to K2 and be ready to have success.”

Sonia DePina

Dorchester Resident, Parent

“I really like having my children go to a program that is high quality. I like the teachers a lot. I know the curriculum is very good and teaches important lessons. I think it’s important that Mayor Walsh support classrooms in community based programs along with classrooms in schools that offer parents a choice so they can bring an infant and a four year old to one center where they are learning and growing together. I like that they are with people who care about us as a family. I only wish there were more affordable spaces and places like this for families.” 

Kim Landry

Charlestown Resident, Parent

“My daughter’s time in BPS has been excellent. She attends Warren Prescott in Charlestown. I really like the school and my daughter has been going there since kindergarten, she’s now starting 6th grade. It’s been great having her there for K-8th grade which was not the case when I went there when I was a kid. My whole family has gone to Warren Prescott and there has been improvements since I was little. The biggest change from when my daughter is there versus me is that the teachers are more involved. When my daughter was struggling math when she was in 3rd grade, they worked with us to help her do better in a summer program sponsored by the school. My daughter was really struggling and now she’s doing really well. There is strong community built in the school, and she knew all of the teachers, all of the staff are very excellent.”



MAYOR WALSH RELEASES RENTSMART, A NEW TOOL FOR RENTERS

RentSmart compiles data from ISD and 311 to give renters access to property violations, maintenance requests

Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced the launch of RentSmart Boston, a tool that provides prospective renters and homeowners with data about Boston's properties.

Developed through a collaboration between the City of Boston's Department of Neighborhood Development and the Department of Innovation and Technology, RentSmart Boston compiles data from BOS:311 and the City's Inspectional Services Division to give prospective tenants a more complete picture of the homes and apartments they are considering renting. The tool prompts users for an address and generates a report to assist prospective tenants in understanding any previous issues with the property, including:

Housing violations

Building violations

Enforcement violations

Housing complaints

Sanitation requests and/or

Civic maintenance requests

"The City is the keeper of significant data that can help renters make good decisions about the properties they're considering renting," said Mayor Walsh. "As we draw closer to the September 1st rental rush, I'm pleased that we are able to make this data accessible in a way that is easy to use for everyone. We are dedicated to ensuring all residents in Boston have secure housing, and I encourage all renters to use these reports to help them with their housing choices."

RentSmart Boston is part of Mayor Martin J. Walsh's commitment to the safety of all Boston renters, as outlined in Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030, the Walsh Administration's comprehensive housing plan.

Students in particular can be at risk for living in unsafe housing, as code violations often go unreported due to high unit turnover among students. RentSmart Boston is a valuable tool for students and families to ensure that they are renting responsibly.

The RentSmart Boston tool is just one way the City is using data to empower its constituents. In April, the Department of Innovation and Technology's Data and Analytics Team also released Analyze Boston, the City's open data hub.

"Boston is using innovative tools and solutions to make living in Boston better for all," said Boston's Chief Information Officer Jascha Franklin-Hodge. "By making this data easily accessible, we're giving renters tools to make informed decisions before they choose an apartment or house to rent, creating more informed tenants."

About Housing A Changing City: Boston 2030

By the year 2030, Boston will reach more than 700,000 residents, a number the City has not seen since the 1950s. Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030 is the Walsh Administration's comprehensive housing plan to reach 53,000 new units of housing at a variety of income levels across the City.

About Imagine Boston 2030

Imagine Boston 2030 is building on Housing a Changing City by identifying areas where continued growth can occur and where additional growth beyond the 53,000-unit target can take place. This growth will create a release valve for existing neighborhoods that are seeing pressure on housing prices. Other initiatives include: working to increase the overall housing supply, deploying tools to support the preservation of affordable housing citywide, putting forth an anti-displacement package that will create and preserve affordable housing, and preventing eviction, link housing and transportation and supporting homeownership. For more information included in the plan, please visit imagine.boston.gov.


STATEMENT FROM MAYOR MARTIN J. WALSH