Harvard-Allston Task Force Polls Residents on Open Space Benefits

Following the University’s filing of its Institutional Master Plan for Allston development on Friday, the Harvard-Allston Task Force polled residents at its meeting Monday evening about their priorities for open space improvements to be included as part of a neighborhood community benefits package.

The benefits package, which is being developed in tandem with the master plan, will include projects and initiatives intended to improve the neighborhood. Harvard and city officials have said that task force members will help inform priorities for the community benefits package.

At Monday night’s meeting, Allston-Brighton residents in attendance were asked to fill out a worksheet ranking potential open space benefits. Items listed on the handout included dog parks, bikeways, commuter rail access, and streetscapes on roads such as North Harvard Street and Western Avenue.

In accompanying discussion, Tim McHale, a Brighton resident who sits on the task force, detailed a possible benefit listed on the handout called the “emerald bracelet,” which would include several parks connected by bikeways throughout the neighborhood. Thomas M. Lally, an Allston resident, suggested from the audience that Wi-Fi, which was not listed on the handout, would be a desirable community benefit.

Christina L. Marin, a task force member who is helping lead the task force’s discussion about open space improvements for the benefits package, said the handout that residents filled out was not a binding vote.

“It’s not something that’s set in stone. It’s simply meant to take your pulse in this moment in the process,” Marin said. She added that the results from the “poll,” as she termed it, will be used alongside feedback from previous conversations to determine what the task force will ultimately present as residents’ community benefit priorities.

Amidst this discussion about open space improvements, task force chair and Allston resident Ray V. Mellone said that the task force needs to both show “some progress” that would benefit both the community and Harvard and to be able to determine its basic priorities for community benefits.


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