Community News

Please check back here for the latest news and notes on activities happening in the Charlesgate neighborhood.

To view information and images from Community News events, click on the links below.

MassDOT announces the proposed rebuild of the Bowker Overpass

On November 21st the Massachusetts Department of Transportation formally announced a proposed major rebuild of the Bowker Overpass, including daylighting of the Muddy River where it enters the Charles. Present, from left to right, included Parker James of the Charlesgate Alliance, Karen Mauney-Brodek, president of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, Doug Rice, Commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Recreation, State Senator Will Brownsberger, Tony Pangaro of the Esplanade Association, Jamey Tesler, chief executive of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, City Councilor Kenzie Bok, and Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver.

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Northeastern University article on the Charlesgate Revitalization Project

The Charlesgate Revitalization Project was discussed on the Northeastern University website.

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Article on the GBH website about Charlesgate Park

Connecting Charlesgate Park with the Emerald Necklace was discussed on the GBH website.

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Article on The Scope Boston website about Charlesgate

Making Boston more walkable on The Scope Boston website featured Karen Mauney-Brodek and Parker James discussing the Charlesgate area.

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Article in Boston Magazine about Kenmore Square

The once and future Kenmore Square was featured in Boston Magazine in May 2021

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Real Estate developments in the neighborhood

There have been some major real estate developments in the neighborhood recently. Whoop signed a deal in May 2021 to be the lead tenant in a Related Beal building by the Citgo sign. Parcel 12 on Mass. Ave. broke ground in July 2020. Parcel 12 will extend west over the Mass. Turnpike toward Charlesgate Park between Boylston Street on the south and Newbury Street on the north.

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MassDOT discusses possible daylighting of Muddy River under Storrow EB bridge

On October 15th, 2019, at a public meeting at the Harvard Club, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) shared work that needed to be done to the eastbound Storrow Drive bridge in the area of Charlesgate that we call The Bowl and Bridge. Their preferred option 3A at that time  enabled “possible daylighting of Muddy River under Storrow EB bridge.”

In response to these plans by MassDOT, the Charlesgate Alliance commissioned new drawings by Landing Studio to show people what a “daylit” or exposed Muddy River to Charles River connection could look like. These were unveiled on November 19th, 2020, at a public meeting. Front page coverage of the event appeared in The Boston Sun.  The Boston Guardian also covered the event on page 6 of its December 4th issue.

Mayor Walsh wrote a letter of support to Governor Baker for the Charlesgate Revitalization Project. City Councilor Kenzie Bok also wrote a dazzling letter of support. Karen Mauney-Brodek, Pam Beale, and Parker James then wrote a letter to Governor Baker outlining our goals, which garnered over 30 supporting organizations before it was sent.

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MBTA Crew Paints Over Graffiti in Charlesgate

Thanks to the advocacy of Charlesgate Alliance board member Margaret Pokorny, an MBTA crew painted over graffiti on the MBTA housing at Charlesgate East and Newbury Street in December 2019.

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DCR Cleans the Charlesgate Muddy River area in 2019

The DCR cleaned the Charlesgate Muddy River area on December 26 and 27, 2019.

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Muddy Water Initiative receives $12,000 for “Watergoat” to clean up debris in the Muddy River

Congratulations to our friends at the Muddy Water Initiative for this grant and press coverage and upcoming work to help clean up the Muddy River.

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MassDOT starts conversation with area stakeholders that includes reconnecting Charlesgate park areas to the Esplanade and Charles River

On April 11th Jonathan Gulliver, highway administrator of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), started a public conversation with area stakeholders, including representatives from the Charlesgate Alliance, about concept designs for replacing the decaying Storrow Drive eastbound viaduct in Charlesgate. The PowerPoint slide deck is here.  The MassDOT’s preferred designs “3A” and “3B” are extraordinary. They would add significant new open space as well as pedestrian and bike paths to serve the community, the city, and the region.

The Charlesgate Alliance wants to thank Jonathan Gulliver, Steve McLaughlin, and Jim Kersten at MassDOT, Patrice Kish, Jennifer Norwood, and Jeffrey Parenti at the Department of Conservation and Recreation, State Senator Will Brownsberger, State Representatives Jay Livingstone, Marie Law Adams and Dan Adams of Landing Studio, Karen Mauney-Brodek of the Emerald Necklace Conservancy, Scott Carpenter and Paul Moyer of Gill Engineering, Herb Nolan of the Solomon Foundation, Mike Nichols and Tony Pangaro at the Esplanade Association, Jennifer Carter and Elizabeth Leary at Boston University,  Martyn Roetter of the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay, as well as the many others who have advocated for restoring Charlesgate as the critical link connecting the Emerald Necklace to the Esplanade and the Charles River. This is an extraordinary step forward. Let us all work together to make certain that this concept design becomes a reality.

Here are design alternatives 3A and 3B. Click an image for larger view.

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DCR cleans the Charlesgate Muddy River area in 2018

Thanks to Caroline Reeves and Jennifer Norwood, the Charlesgate Alliance learned the exact days, times, and name of the contractors in 2018 for the annual Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) surface (“water sheet”) cleaning of the Muddy River in the Charlesgate area. Below is a photo of what the terminus of the Muddy River by the Olmsted Bridge looked like on October 3rd.
Muddy River on October 3, 2018

Contractors from New England Disposal Technologies and Solitude Lake Management worked together on November 19th and 20th. Supporters of the Alliance learned that this year’s cleanup would cost roughly $27,000.
Cleaning up Muddy River November 19th and 20th

Pictured here are some of the Charlesgate Alliance supporters who showed up to cheer on the workers: Pam Beale, Parker James, John Iappini, Jackie Royce, and Randall Albright. The photo was taken by Dan Adams of Landing Studio, who said that he learned some things that could make the job easier for contractors in the future.
Charlesgate Alliance supporters Pam Beale, Parker James, John Iappini, Jackie Royce and Randall Albright. Photo taken by Dan Adams of Landing Studio.

According to Dan Adams, “The banks of the Muddy River are currently so steep that it’s very difficult to launch any equipment for cleaning into the river. Also, because the banks are dirt immediately above granite shore armoring, it becomes very slippery when wet, which makes it all the more difficult for any access to the watersheet. Solutions would include creating an area of more gradual slope with a stabilized ground surface, such as gravel. Effectively this would serve as a river cleaning/skimming vessel launch.

“Additionally, the cleaning team needs access to dumpsters and multiple types of vehicles that they use to transport their varied pieces of equipment. Currently, these crews have no choice but to drive over the planted landscape areas. However, we can design the new paved multi-modal pathways and hardscape recreation areas to double function as temporary access corridors and lay-down areas for this equipment.”

Here are some additional photos of the cleanup.

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Kenmore Mall Improvements

The Friends of the Public Garden received a grant for $15,000 in 2018 for improvements to the Kenmore section of the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. This money went towards planting four trees, painting the fence, and repairing the Lombard Light.

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Art Installation in the Area

An art installation was in the Charlesgate community during the summer ofd 2018. Liz Glynn’s Open House was in the Kenmore part of the Commonwealth Avenue Mall immediately adjacent to Charlesgate Park, having opened on July 26th and going through November 4th, 2018.

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Charlesgate Alliance Represented at Red Sox Fenway Neighborhood Night on May 18th, 2018

Co-founder Pam Beale and Sam Wertheimer represented Charlesgate Alliance at the Red Sox Fenway Neighborhood Night on May 18th. Also in attendance were State Senator Will Brownsberger and State Representative Byron Rushing. Pam was one of two people to announce “Play Ball!” to begin the game.

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Marlborough Street by Charlesgate East Gets 21 New Trees in Sidewalks Where No Street Trees Had Been Planted Before in 2018

Thanks to the advocacy of members of the Charlesgate Alliance, particularly Margaret Pokorny, The Garden Club of the Back Bay, and Chris Cook, Commissioner of Parks and Recreation for the City of Boston, the last block of Marlborough Street from Massachusetts Ave. to Charlesgate East got greener this Spring.

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Other Area News

  • Pam Beale, co-founder of the Charlesgate Alliance, was on hand for the groundbreaking of the new Fenway Center on January 30th, 2018. Pam spoke in her role as chair of the Citizens Advisory Committee for Parcel 7 air rights over the Massachusetts Turnpike. The name of that project became Fenway Center. Also speaking were Kelly Saito, Managing Partner of Gerding Edlen, John Rosenthal, president of Meredith Management, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack, and Brian Golden, Director of Boston Planning and Development Agency. The Boston Arts Academy Chorus then performed before the groundbreaking. For more information, see this Boston Globe article.IMG_8262
  • The Citgo sign will remain visible with new development around it.
  • Other planned and ongoing projects will also impact the neighborhood, including:

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