TAB & Crimson report on last night's meeting

This Crimson and TAB stories excerpted below give a good overview of last night's meeting. You can download the presentation given by Harvard's consultants here.

The Harvard Crimson :: News :: Harvard Shows Revised Allston Plan to Residents

“Everyone’s always talking about Barry’s corner, but nothing’s getting done,” said Allston resident Leonard W. Kelliher. “Well, build the damn thing and build the rest of Harvard around it!”

“If you build food service areas deep into the campus, they detract from Barry’s corner,” task force member Brent Whelan said (correction: it was Bruce Houghton who said this), referring to the large intersection at North Harvard Street and Western Ave. that Harvard has promised to revitalize as part of its expansion. “I’m thinking about retail as squares of compressed areas where it’s all accessible.”

“We think that this should be an integrated city, and I look at this plan and I don’t see anything towards that end,” said task force member Harry Mattison, who has been critical of Harvard’s plans in the past. “Every time you talked about your plans and said ‘Oh, maybe there will be some community there too,’ it is sort of an afterthought.”

Harvard proposes changes to Allston plans - Allston/Brighton TAB

Residents and members of the Harvard Allston Campus Task Force expressed skepticism as to how open the campus would truly be. “The problem is getting in, not looking in,” said CTF member Michael Hanlon.

One of the most contentious issues of the evening was whether Harvard’s plans were sufficient to revitalize Barry’s Corner. The plan included the construction of four buildings that would serve as cultural venues within two blocks of the corner, a move criticized by the task force as catering only to daytime visitors to the area.

Speaking to a proposed open-air ice-skating rink two blocks northeast of Barry’s Corner, CTF member Harry Mattison said, “You don’t put a skating rink right in the middle of what’s supposed to be your big public area.”

Others felt that Harvard’s proposed improvements didn’t meet Allston residents’ expectations for the project. “Try to figure out what we want there, in terms of vibrancy, and what would support that,” said CTF Chairman Ray Mellone.

“This still isn’t a plan that integrates the community and the campus. This was a plan for two communities,” rather than one unified Harvard-Allston community, Mattison
said.

6 comments:

  1. Coincidentally, the 2008 Obama Presidential Campaign's National Finance Chair, Harvard Board of Overseer Member Penny Pritzker, "also chairs the University President's Advisory Committee on the Allston Initiative" and "says she applies her experience with real estate and architecture when dealing with the University's expansion into Allston," according to the June 5, 2006 issue of the Harvard Crimson.
    Perhaps that's why former Harvard Law School graduate Obama has apparently been so unwilling to oppose tax-exempt, "non-profit" Harvard University Inc.'s landgrabbing/campus expansion project in Allston.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous2:20 PM

    I think Obama might have more pressing issues than worrying about Harvard's "land grab."

    ReplyDelete
  3. wellbasically8:52 PM

    I wonder if somebody would cut to the chase here.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have long thought that the key to Barry's Corner was not just retail space or transportation but HOUSING: will Harvard use its land outside the campus area to create enough of a mixed-income community to support the sort of animation many of us hope to see. While Harvard seems to be saying 'No way, no how" to the community's plan for an enlarged Charlesview relocation project, we need to keep pressing: maybe developing the rest of the Holton St. corridor will be a technically separate project, but with support from the community planning process--and BEFORE approving the IMP-- we should insist on Harvard's agreement in principle to complement the campus IMP with a 'community IMP' on the rest of their Allston/Brighton holdings that would include the housing we need.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Anonymous9:46 AM

    I suggest we review Harvards Proposal slide by slide and not jump all over the place no matter how much time it takes to resolve one issue. If it takes four meetings so be it. See you tonight

    ReplyDelete
  6. wellbasically12:21 PM

    I looked through the slides at least, here is my impression: It would be a decent plaqce to walk through, but if you're not a student or staff there will be no reason for you to be there. If a Berlin wall went up around the new campus, and the Allston residents couldn't get in, essentially nothing would change inside.

    Harvard will never build the street level commerce that people in the area want. They just don't want that responsibility, or care that much. In their defense it's not really something they're good at.

    Here's a suggestion though: the City will write off capital improvements and abate commercial taxes in the area, and Harvard picks up the tab. Then you're getting private action to open stores and buisnesses there that will serve the students and residents, outside of Harvard's planning process. So you give the power to the people in the neighborhood to make something off the new campus. The decisions about what goes there will be more market driven and not politically driven.

    ReplyDelete