Today's Herald tells us that the BRA pays more than $280,000 a year to have a staff of 4 track the community benefit compliance of developers in Boston. But 5 years after the deputy director for compliance was hired there is a dearth of information on the BRA's website and requests for information from across the City seem to go unanswered.
Go to http://www.bostonredevelopmentauthority.org/ and type "community benefits" into the search box. The results are a bunch of press releases and meeting minutes. The one is a press release from 2001, the 2nd is a press release from 2000, and the 3rd is meeting minutes from an April 2008 Harvard Task Force meeting. Nowhere does there seem to be any reporting of what the developers have promised and what they have actually done.
The only information that I can find online describing Harvard's compliance with the Science Complex community benefits is this summary budget on Harvard's website. It doesn't give actual numbers but a "projection through March 31, 2009" and the categories of benefits it reports are so vague that the information is fairly useless. Harvard spent $1,617,767.66 on public realm improvements? The number suggests that Harvard is tracking this to the penny and probably has a detailed spreadsheet or database that breaks this number down into specific projects and improvements, but this detail is nowhere to be found in Harvard's report or anywhere else.
The last time the Harvard Allston Task Force met (which I think was in January or February, but I'm not sure because there are no meeting minutes or evidence of the meeting on the BRA website) we asked the BRA for a detailed breakdown of what Harvard thinks it has done to comply with the Science Complex cooperation agreement. We were told by the BRA that its Compliance Officer has all this data and would get it to us, but that was at least 5 months ago and no information has arrived. Maybe it will appear at Wednesday's Task Force meeting.