Civics

New Kroc Center hailed, but fee structure remains concern

Kroc Center: Major William Bode of the Salvation Army, Mayor Tom Menino, John Hamill of Sovereign Bank and Linda Wendfeldt, Joan Kroc’s daughter, enjoy Saturday’s ribbon-cutting of the Kroc Community Center on Dudley Street, Dorchester. Photo courtesy Mayor’s office Kroc Center: Major William Bode of the Salvation Army, Mayor Tom Menino, John Hamill of Sovereign Bank and Linda Wendfeldt, Joan Kroc’s daughter, enjoy Saturday’s ribbon-cutting of the Kroc Community Center on Dudley Street, Dorchester. Photo courtesy Mayor’s office

The new Kroc Center seems to have it all as it aims to serve local residents and families and more than 19,000 children living within a mile of the facility: The aquatic enter center with a heated indoor water park and a water slide. The gymnasium with two high school regulation courts. And the rock climbing wall, a ropes course, and a performing arts center.

Located in the Uphams Corner section of Dorchester and hailed as a jewel, the $115 million center was formally opened with great fanfare on Saturday.

“The dream has been realized,” Mayor Tom Menino told a crowd assembled for the opening ceremony. Menino played a key role in assembling a fundraising team that raised millions of dollars to help buttress the much larger sum donated by the Kroc family to build the center.

But the Kroc Center remains somewhat of a work-in-progress. Political and community leaders are still working behind-the-scenes with Salvation Army officials, who operate the center, to ensure that local residents and families can afford the membership rates the center is asking— fees that some say are too high.  Read more

Meade's BRA turn offers promise of needed reforms

Peter Meade is well-respected as both an out-front power broker and a behind-the-scenes adviser to some of the region’s most influential civic and business leaders. He is an inspired choice to lead the city’s planning agency, the Boston Redevelopment Authority or BRA.

Mayor Tom Menino with Peter MeadeMayor Tom Menino with Peter MeadeMeade’s imminent tenure is sure to be consumed quickly by large development questions that have bedeviled Boston even before the recent recession: the Filene’s hole in downtown Boston, the Ferdinand building in Dudley Sq. and the continued development of the waterfront. All of these projects — and many more—will benefit from Meade’s unique skill set and his productive relationship with Mayor Menino.  Read more

Top Patrick aide receives outpouring of support after heart attack

Ron Bell: On the mend after serious heart attack. Photo by Chris LovettRon Bell: On the mend after serious heart attack. Photo by Chris LovettA top adviser to Gov. Deval Patrick was released from the hospital Monday after suffering a massive heart attack.

Ron Bell, who serves as Patrick’s senior adviser on community affairs, was leaving a Dedham meeting on Wednesday afternoon when he felt a shortness of breath and asked a friend to take him back to the State House.

His friend, Peter Lin-Marcus, instead took him to the emergency ward at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, where doctors ran tests and had an ambulance take him to Massachusetts General Hospital’s intensive care unit, Bell said.

“I’m so glad to be alive,” Bell, 48, told the Reporter on Monday.  Read more

Analysis: City counters bend boundaries, thousands cut out of Dot

BRA map: Click for larger (4mb) ver.BRA map: Click for larger (4mb) ver.The Boston Redevelopment Authority — or BRA— says that there are 91,982 people living in Dorchester, based on newly-released data collected for the 2010 census.

If that were a correct count of Dorchester’s residents, it would mean that the population of Boston’s largest neighborhood dropped by nearly 1,000 souls over the last decade.

But, the city’s planning department appears to have it wrong.

The BRA may have shorted Dorchester’s population by tens of thousands of people, according to calculations done by the Reporter.  Read more

Text of Jackson speech at March 26 swearing-in

The following is the text of Tito Jackson's speech, as prepared for delivery, at his swearing-in at Hibernian Hall on Saturday, March 26, 2010.  Read more

Boston Redevelopment chief leaving post

The head of the Boston Redevelopment Authority has submitted his resignation, the Menino administration said Friday. John Palmieri, who has served in the post since 2007, is stepping down on May 1.

The powerful agency oversees economic development and planning within the city.  Read more

Lawmakers split after transportation officials stick with Blue Hill commuter rail stop

Top transportation officials are sticking with their choice to construct a commuter rail station between the Blue Hill Ave. and Cummins Highway overpasses, despite opposition from the area’s abutters. A top senator has also weighed in, saying he remains unconvinced about the location.

Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Mullan and MBTA General Manager Rich Davey met with local lawmakers and some neighborhood residents on Tuesday in state Sen. Jack Hart’s State House office to discuss the siting of the station.  Read more

Port Norfolk ‘brainstorm’ planned for connecting paths

Port Norfolk connectionPort Norfolk connectionA group of four graduate students from Tufts University will lead a community meeting on Saturday morning in Port Norfolk to discuss possible connections between the Neponset Greenway trail and the Boston Harborwalk.

The Tufts students are conducting the “brainstorming session” in collaboration with the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation and other partner agencies. The students will have maps showing potential routes to make the connection between the two trails safer and more user-friendly.

“We want to get feedback from people on those routes or alternate routes,” says Christine Kim, one of the students. “And we want to get feedback on what they’re looking to get out of it.”

The meeting will be held on Saturday, March 26 from 10 a.m.- noon at the Port Norfolk Yacht Club. Contact the Tufts team at dotcoastgreenwayuep@gmail.com or fill out their survey here.  Read more

Jackson getting sworn in at Hibernian Hall

Tito Jackson will be able to drop the "-elect" tag from his title on Saturday, when he is expected to be sworn in as District Seven's new city councillor.

The swearing-in is scheduled for noon at Hibernian Hall.

Jackson won the March 15 special election with 82 percent of the vote.  Read more

Finally: Census Bureau to release local data next week

The U.S. Census Bureau is expected to release data at the local level for Massachusetts next week. The data will be used to redraw the state's Congressional, Governor's Council, and state House and state Senate districts.

The other states also receiving their local data include Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, South Carolina, West Virginia, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. For each state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.  Read more