Harvard's several large-scale construction projects across the Charles River are progressing as planned, University Construction Mitigation Director Edward G. LeFlore told Allston residents on Monday.
The University is currently in the process of securing permits for its plans to construct a complex for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences in the neighborhood, LeFlore said at Monday’s Allston Construction Mitigation Subcommittee meeting. The six-story complex, as detailed late last month, will house classrooms, labs, lounge spaces, an exhibition space, a cafeteria, and 250 parking spots.
Harvard is also in the “last stretch” of construction in Rena Park, LeFlore said.
And while LeFlore came prepared with updates on those multi-million-dollar projects, residents directed the latter part of the meeting to criticize the leadership of the Harvard-Allston Task Force.
“We have to get the task force straightened out,” neighborhood resident Paul “Chip” Alford said, arguing that a lack of transparency surrounding appointments to the advisory board hinders its ability to represent the neighborhood.
Attendees also expressed concerns about the area's rodent population and how the University's construction might be related to its perceived growth. In the past, Allston residents have voiced their concerns about Harvard’s construction developments creating favorable living conditions for rats.
“Today when I saw [a rat] jumping through my yard, I thought it was a bunny from the way he was hopping, but then when he went under my fence, I said ‘Hey, that’s not a rabbit!’” Allston resident Joyce Radnor said. “Harvard always gets blamed, though, but it might not always be their fault; when [Harvard’s] big foundations and ditches are being worked on and then we see rats, we assume a correlation.”
John Meaney, assistant commissioner of the Boston Inspectional Services Department, said, “We like to think that all our [sewer] systems are tight, but they’re not.” Despite this, “overall in this area we’re doing pretty well.”
LeFlore said Harvard has continuously worked to contain the rat population in areas near its construction sites.
—Staff writer Ignacio Sabate can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow him on Twitter @TheIggySabate.
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