Mahoney Blasts Park Plaza Plans As Power Misuse

Miles Mahoney, former Massachusetts commissioner of Community Affairs, called the Park Plaza development proposal a "classic misuse of public power" last night at Gund Hall.

Mahoney said that "personal and financial aggrandizement" was the motive of those who advanced the project, and that he had never before seen "so poor an urban renewal submission."

He explained that the proposal failed to meet the state guidelines for urban renewal projects, which his former office is charged with enforcing. The developer failed to prove that he had a sound financial plan, or that the land to be taken over by eminent domain is blighted, he said.

"The developer is here applying for a fishing license," Mahoney said, "so that he may forcibly obtain a private site and try to make his fortune from it."

"If we were to accept this proposition then virtually any real estate in the Commonwealth...would qualify for wholesale clearance," he added.

Mahoney accused the Boston Redevelopment Authority of twisting and contorting the facts in trying to prove that the land is blighted.

He said that adequate relocation plans were not submitted, particularly for those who would be displaced from the "Combat Zone." "The problem of the relocation of the Combat Zone is a herculean one," Mahoney said.

In all, Mahoney said, the proposal failed to meet five out of six state guidelines for urban renewal projects. He added that, supplied with this knowledge, he "never really believed that [the governor] would have the audacity" to reintroduce the Park Plaza proposal after Mahoney had resigned.