August 23, 2005
- City Council Hearing - There will be a hearing of the Councils Committee on Environment and Historic Preservation, chaired by Councilor Kelly, on groundwater issues. The hearing will take place in the Rabb Lecture Hall at the Boston Public Library on Tuesday, Sept. 6, at 5:15. it is in response to two orders on the topic, one filed by Councilors Kelly, Ross, and McDermott for a discussion of many issues surrounding the general topic, and one filed by Councilor Murphy that is focused on establishing an organizational structure to deal with groundwater.
- St. Charles St. - Based on a concept offered by Jim Lambrechts, several students at Wentworth developed a potential plan for solving the groundwater problem around St. Charles Street as a senior project. The plan essentially involves building an underground wall around the blocks that would keep groundwater in; this is likely to be far less expensive and disruptive than repair of the leak under the tracks. The presentation was very solid; and the students will be presenting a modified version, tailored to the audience, to public officials on Friday, August 26, at 10:00AM at Wentworth. Among committed attendees are delegations from the MBTA and BWSC, as well as Jim Hunt, DPW Commissioner Casazza, Councilor Kelly, Rep.Rushing, and aides to Speaker DiMasi and Senator Wilkerson. I was particularly encouraged that T General Manager Dan Grabauskas said in his reply to the invitation that he looked forward to working together on a long term solution.
- Ad-Hoc City-State Committee - Andrew Gottlieb and Jim Hunt convened a meeting of the committee that included representatives of the MBTA, the MTA, DCR, BRA, BWSC, and BGwT, Reps. Rushing and Walz and an aide to Sen. Wilkerson, as well as public attendees from CWRA and Citywide GET. There was a commitment that this would be a true working group with assigned tasks to be completed by the next meeting in September.
- Strategic Planning - We have signed a contract with Ann Donner to help us with our strategic planning process. She plans interviews starting this week with trustees and key constituencies. We hope to have a meeting to discuss findings and reach agreement in late September, with a report in October.
- Website - Traffic to the website remains relatively heavy. We are about to begin the testing stage for our updated site that will allow access to well data directly from the map. It is much easier to use than our current system. We will also be able to upload readings directly to the site, eliminating much of the current manual work. The new site will hopefully be fully operational by October.
- Zoning - Jim Hunt hosted a meeting that included BGwT, Citywide GET, and NABB, as well as BRA and BWSC, to discuss potential ways to accomplish what NABB had hoped to achieve with a zoning overlay district. While there was much positive in the discussions, final resolution was not reached.
- Speaker DiMasi - I met with Aaron Michlewitz, a constituent services aide to the Speaker, to go over the groundwater issue and the role of the Trust.
- Silver Line Phase III - I spoke before a meeting of the Back Bay Association on the issues involved in the MBTAs Silver Line Phase III project. At the start of that meeting, Andrew Brennan of the T announced that General Manager Grabauskas had said that the Columbus Avenue portal did not seem to meet the requirements of the T.
- Comment Letters - I filed comment letters on 1330 Boylston St, 601-603 Albany St, and Silver Line Phase III. All letters are posted on the website.
- 501(c)3 - We received a letter from the IRS that seems to indicate that the last obstacle is changing the dissolution language in the Declaration of Trust. They understand they will hear back from us as soon as the new language is adopted.
- Funding - The $50,000 from the State for capital projects has been received by the City and has been approved for issuance to the Trust. We should have the money imminently.
- Level Logging Equipment - The equipment we received would not fit in our wells. The vendor has accepted it back and offered a more expensive solution that will fit. We are now evaluating that and also looking for other possible solutions. We will move on this shortly.
- Health and Safety Policy - The Technical Advisory Committee is reviewing the draft policy. I hope to have something for the Board to adopt at the next meeting.
- News Coverage - In addition to much mention of groundwater in articles about the Silver Line Phase III, there were pieces in the Boston Courant and South End News, both of which are posted on the website.