WALCZAK ASKS HARVARD UNIVERSITY TO DELAY APPROVAL FOR ALLSTON INSTITUTIONAL MASTER PLAN; SEEKS ALTERNATIVE IDEAS FROM NEIGHBORHOOD INCLUDING ALLSTON INNOVATION DISTRICT
BOSTON – Bill Walczak, candidate for mayor of Boston, today called on Harvard University to delay its institutional master plan for the Allston neighborhood that is now before the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) for approval. Walczak’s letter to Harvard’s President, Drew Faust, asked the President to extend the university’s timetable for the approval of the plan so the next mayor will be able to have input into the future of the Allston neighborhood. Walczak’s letter comes after conversations with Allston voters about the vast differences between the plan Harvard presented to the community in 2007 and the one submitted to the BRA this year.
“Harvard’s plan represents a major change for this community and I want to make sure that there is a thoughtful process in place so the residents of Allston can participate in deciding its future,” said Walczak. “We cannot be a world-class city when private interests alone are deciding the future of our neighborhoods. Community involvement in master planning is essential for every Boston neighborhood.”
From the letter:
“I share concerns raised by Allston Task Force members and other community residents that, given these changes, a four month review period may not be sufficient to enable a group of neighborhood volunteers -- even a group as competent and dedicated as the Allston Task Force has proven to be -- to adequately review and comment on a plan that looks 10 years into the future.”
“My other reason for requesting that Harvard extend the review period has to do with the fact that a site that as recently as 2011 was being referred to as an “enterprise research campus” appears in the 2013 Institutional Master Plan as an unspecified use. This significantly scaled back plan risks missing an opportunity not only to address some of Allston’s commercial needs but also to solidify Boston’s role in creating the 21st Century economy.”
“I believe the residents of Allston would welcome an opportunity to work with Harvard on plans for an Allston Innovation District. The “enterprise research campus” formerly discussed with the community would provide a critically important complement to the nearby Harvard Innovation Lab and Startup Lab Boston.”