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Associate Vice President for Public Affairs and Communications Kevin Casey updated Allston residents on Harvard’s plans for Allston Thursday morning, during the informal coffee hour hosted by Harvard at the Educational Portal.
The University designed the monthly meetings as an initiative to gain community feedback for the recommendations on Harvard’s next steps for its Allston development. A series of recommendations were presented by the Harvard Allston Work Team—a 14-person group of deans, faculty, and alumni commissioned by University President Drew G. Faust—were approved in September.
Casey informed residents that, based upon feedback from a past Task Force meeting, the University is in the midst of discussions with the City in order to develop “clearer direction on some of the procedures to be used to manage development on Harvard’s projects.”
During the meeting, Task Force members—residents appointed by the Boston Redevelopment Authority as representatives of the community—said that community concerns about their quality of life have been ignored in favor of Harvard’s expansion.
In response, Casey said that three or four meetings would be hosted to gain community input on design plans for future sites.
But, during Thursday’s coffee hour Casey said that these tete-a-tetes have been put on hold to better inform community members of the University’s next steps.
“We heard the Task Force at the last meeting, and we are collaborating with the City on developing clearer direction on procedures. We don’t want to put the cart before the horse, because we believe that these charettes are important,” Casey said.
Casey explained that the University is currently thinking through its planning areas, such as Barry’s Corner—located at the intersection of North Harvard St. and Western Ave. The Work Team recommendations called for Harvard to enhance the area with mixed-development projects that would include housing for faculty, graduate students, and other Allston residents, as well as retail outlets.
Resident Thomas Lally said the community was in dire need of more retail outlets since the community lost its local KMart when construction on the Allston Science Complex began.
Community member John McQueen suggested that Harvard should create a “blown-up map” to highlight future development sites within the context of the entire Allston neighborhood.
“Things would probably move faster if there was an overall blueprint,” McQueen said.
Residents also asked whether or not replacements have been found for Michael F. Glavin and Kevin A. McCluskey ’76 who were former key players in Harvard’s advancements into Allston.
Glavin—who coordinated development work with the Allston community and Harvard for the Boston Redevelopment Authority—left his position in the BRA in October to lead the Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development in Somerville. McCluskey left after acting as Harvard’s envoy to the Allston community for 22 years.
Casey said he has not filled the post yet, but that he plans to fill the role of senior director of community relations for Boston that McCluskey formerly held soon.
—Staff writer Nathalie R. Miraval can be reached at email@example.com.
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