Walsh announces plans to build 200 apartments for the chronically homeless, rebuild bridge to Long Island

In his inauguration speech today, Mayor Walsh announced a four-year, $10-million fundraising effort to build 200 units of "supportive, sustainable, long-term housing for chronically homeless men and women."

The fund has been launched in partnership with Pine Street Inn and Bank of America - which donated $250,000 to the effort.

Also today, Walsh vowed to rebuild the Long Island Bridge, shut in 2014 before it fell down and since torn down. But Walsh said Long Island would no longer house the homeless, instead, it would become home to a long-term treatment and recovery facility for addicts that would feature detox, residential treatment and transitional housing.

The city says the new bridge, which could cost up to $100 million, would be similar in design to the old one - with one lane in each direction.

Walsh will also have to convince officials in Quincy to approve the bridge, which might be a tough sell.

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Comments

Why?

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Why?

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Walsh claims he's solved Veteran homelessness

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Walsh claims he's solved Veteran homelessness. People who make it an issue should know something about it.

Am I misunderstanding?

So they're going to spend four years to raise $10 million in donations, after which they pledge to build long-term, sustainable housing for a whopping 200 chronically homeless people?

If the City of Boston doesn't have $10 million in the midst of this decade-long high-end residential and office building spree, we are seriously misgoverned.

Oh, right, almost forgot. We ARE seriously misgoverned.

Maybe we can have a bake sale, and put a little aside for the new bridge to Long Island, too.

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long island bridge?!??

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what the hell for?? in four years all 200 of the chronically homeless are going to have sweet new apartments! marty in 2022!!!!!!

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He actually said during the

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He actually said during the address that the bridge would be rebuilt. Don’t think he specifically said how it would be funded.

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Can't that same argument be

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Can't that same argument be made for anything the city does though? Of course there is ten million dollars in the bank but you can't spend that much every time you have a project. Imagine if you bought every 50 dollar item you came across. Any given 50 dollar item will not empty out the wallet but if you have that philosophy you will end up with no reserves very quickly.

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Please

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Can half of them be built down the Seaport? Preferably next to Pier 4 on the waterside.

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To be fair,

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It's 200 at a time. It could serve many more over time.

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Hopefully they do set these

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Hopefully they do set these apartments up that way - that is, that they are transitional, and once someone no longer qualifies for assistance, they're out and space is made once again for people who do need it.

(As opposed to most public housing, where once someone qualifies and gets in, they can live their forever. This is why public housing often has a decade-long wait list nowadays.)

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So basically

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Walsh proposes construction of a college dormitory.

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Back in the day, it was

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Back in the day, it was called a rooming house. That industry was ridiculed and regulated out of business. You can't have affordable high density housing, it's a blight, just no one will say that nowadays.

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Long Island bridge spans two

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Long Island bridge spans two Boston owned islands, Moon and Long. The road to moon is a paved easement. BPD has a gun range on Moon. The road to the road to Moon is a public thoroughfare.

True

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This is actually the response I'm seeing on a Quincy facebook page. I'm still kind of baffled, tbh.

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Oh, Quincy’s okay with this

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Or at least some of the regulars here have hinted as much when I have noted that Menino spent years trying to get the bridge repaired but both Phelan and Koch rebuffed him.

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How can a Quincy Mayor deny this?

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They have no legal standing to challenge Boston rebuilding access to it's own property. The only way that makes sense (stonewalling on repair/ replacing the bridge) is if Menino tried to get Quincy to share costs. In that case Quincy would have been right to say get lost, then again this is the first I've heard of this (no offense).

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Guess which 2 cities are linked by the bridge?

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One is Boston and the other shares it’s name with the middle name of the dandy boy who stole the election of 1824 from Andrew Jackson. Kind of tough to get the approvals to build a bridge that is half in a city that doesn’t want it built.

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No stolen election in 1824....

four candidates -- no majority - Clay and Quincy Adam's positions mostly matched -- Jackson and the other candidate's support came out to less than a majority, Quincy plus Clay had more support. Sounds fair enough to me.

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We’ll agree to disagree

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My claim is based on who got the most electoral votes and most popular votes, which we all agree is not the way Presidents are elected. Jackson got his revenge 4 years later.

If people want to see how low politics goes, this period should be the starting off point.

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Sigh, We know where the bridge is, and what cities it connects.

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Think of it as a right of way issue. Boston has the right to repair the bridge to re-gain access that they enjoyed before. I don't see how Quincy can "not let them' repair/ rebuild the bridge. If they had a right to access the bridge before it didn't magically disappear.

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So you can point to the legal

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So you can point to the legal evidence of this "right of way" you posit exists? A "right of way" is something that is going to appear in a deed or something similar. It doesn't just exist out of thin air.

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They have been using the same access for decades.

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Trust me, that means they have a right of way. No need to get into all the technical language and legal theory. I don't know why anyone thinks I would have to do legal research to debunk a very dubious conspiracy theory anyway. Again, we've all read everything that's been put out there about this bridge and who was to blame, yesterday was the first time I heard that it's all Quincy's fault (everyone knows!) Personally I blame Chief Yakoo.

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I debate this with you a bit back then

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I'm no apologist for anyone in Quincy and I don't live there but the narrative that Menino fought for this and Quincy mayors or local reps shut it down doesn't add up.

I asked before for the specific plans Boston had for rebuilding and the response from Quincy. Crickets.

What was the process after these supposed rejections? Were there court challenges? Were there appeals to the process Quincy used to deny the rebuilding?
I've never seen any of that.

I'll grant you that Squantum residents in particular weren't happy with the clientele and busses but they also wanted access to the island (over this bridge!) for recreational use.

I'll even grant you that Quincy may have wanted to have the bridge tore down late. But they can't do anything they want without repercussions. There are appeals processes for all zoning and environmental rulings.

So, I'll ask again what specific facts do you have to support your argument that Menino was fighting for this but Quincy killed it?

I'll even take an item in any Menino budget proposal ever that has the bridge rebuild in it.

While the Globe isn't the paper it once was I've found nothing to refute the reporting in this article:
https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/12/13/bridge/CKX45L7z1CXdtMmsYkXP...

I think this quote is particularly revelant:

As the end of the Long Island Bridge’s life span neared, then-Mayor Thomas M. Menino grappled with whether to overhaul the structure or use the money to fund other city services. In the end he decided to retain the shelter and other facilities on the island but limit traffic on the bridge and restrict public access. Police were deployed to guard the bridge’s gates.
The Long Island Bridge, which is owned by the city and maintained by the Public Works Department, is the only bridge in Boston not under the state’s jurisdiction; the state has no oversight, nor any responsibility to help pay for its upkeep.
Between 1990 and 2010, the bridge underwent six rehabilitations, at the cost of tens of millions of dollars, according to inspection reports.

I'd love to hear your reasoning for why Quincy allowed a bridge they wanted shut to be rehabbed 6 times i=over 20 years. And why a major rehab wasn't done again by Menino or Walsh before it was too late.

Is the answer the Quincy bogeymen?

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Now there's an idea

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Perhaps the state should own and rebuild the bridge, and maybe even throw in a little for the housing.

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Here are a few items

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In addition to my favorite Patriot Ledger article on the topic, linked from an article on the topic from Commonwealth Magazine, here is something that was in the Globe South on the 8th of July 2007:

Senator wants span torn down - Bridge to Long Island seen as drag on city

State Senator Michael W. Morrissey has a radical solution to a longstanding squabble between Quincy and Boston over Long Island: Demolish the aging bridge that connects the Boston Harbor island to the Quincy mainland, rather than sink $40 million into needed repairs.

"It's essentially a road to nowhere," Morrissey said of the massive bridge built in 1951. "All it is is a burden to those of us in Quincy."

For years, Quincy and Boston have squabbled over Long Island, a harbor island owned by Boston but accessible from Quincy by a half-mile-long bridge.

Quincy residents resent the fact that they can't use the picturesque island, and that traffic to facilities on Long Island clogs Quincy streets. Boston officials say they lack the resources to fix up the island for visitors and say they have done everything they can to ease traffic.

Morrissey said it would be cheaper to build a dock and operate a ferry service from Boston than it would be to fix the bridge. The bridge is not worth fixing, he said, and "as a practical matter, we should condemn it."

The idea has generated some support among Quincy officials.

"It doesn't make a whole lot of sense to spend $40 million on a bridge the public isn't able to go over," said David Murphy, an aide to Quincy Mayor William J. Phelan. "There has always been concern about restricting public access to an absolutely beautiful piece of property."

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino has asked Governor Deval Patrick and the state Highway Department to undertake the $40 million reconstruction project.

The 225-acre island's principal use now is as the site for Boston's Long Island Shelter for the homeless. Several hundred individuals are bused to and from the island daily, through the Squantum section of Quincy.

People going to the homeless shelter used to be picked up by bus at the North Quincy Red Line station, but in response to complaints from Quincy officials, Boston moved the pickup locations to places in Boston.

The city also operates 15 other programs on the island, mostly health and social service programs for the poor and people with substance-abuse problems.

Boston has used the island to house the poor and for treatment of people with various disabilities since the late 19th century.

Not surprisingly, Boston officials gave a chilly reception to Morrissey's suggestion to tear the bridge down. Dot Joyce, a spokeswoman for Menino, said getting the bridge fixed is the city's top priority.

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Find Another Topic, Marty

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The Long Island bridge and the services provided on Long Island are 'small potatoes'. They are not serious topics of emphasis for a second-term mayor.

How about:
* Improving the prospects of all Boston citizens
* Improving the schools (correlated with the above)
* Promoting more moderate income housing (also correlated with the above)

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Can’t he do more than one thing?

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For example, his pledge to get 55,000 units of new housing built speaks to your last point, while improving just Madison could help the first 2 points.

Having multiple departments each with a head speaks to this. There’s a position dedicated to schools. Another dedicated to law enforcement. There’s an agency theoretically dedicated to urban planning, and another dedicated to neighborhood development.

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No,

not if each "thing" costs $100 million.

I strongly disagree with Aeroguy's comment that addiction treatment services are "small potatoes", they are essential public health services. But $100 million to rebuild a bridge to Long Island just for that purpose is not a viable expenditure. Instead, direct resources to cleaning up " Recovery Road" so those who choose treatment don't have to face drug sellers on a daily basis. Demand that the state build treatment centers in other regions so that Boston alone is not bearing the burden of this statewide public health crisis.

If developers are interested in Long Island, let them pay to rebuild the bridge, or develop ferry service.

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"The Long Island bridge and

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"The Long Island bridge and the services provided on Long Island are 'small potatoes'. They are not serious topics of emphasis for a second-term mayor."

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What a fucking elitist attitude. Those shelters I guess all the HUMAN BEINGS that got screwed over when the shelter closed are not worthy of "emphasis" in the strategizing of How to Be A Good Mayor.

Oh p.s., have you noticed it is 5 degrees out. How do you think the homeless enjoy that weather? Dooshbag.

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You aren't seeing the bigger

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You aren't seeing the bigger picture, Aeroguy.
Long Island is the prize -- and Marty and his cronies will develop it.
Maybe it will become a billionaires' paradise, or a casino with water ferries going to and from the Seaport.
John Fish and Jack Connors, the Camp Harborview donors, have been working on it for years.
Marty is their puppet.
Remember how the bridge was suddenly shut as John Fish's Olympic proposal was unveiled?
Remember how B Good -- Jack Connors' restaurant chain -- started growing its organic food on Long Island after the homeless people were evicted?
Marty is now reinventing himself as the homeless savior, while behind the scenes they are scheming to take the island away from the public -- for epic private gain.

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That will never happen. It's

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That will never happen. It's a great conspiracy theory, but I think your tin foil hat is a wee bit tight.

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Geez, the mayor gets

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Geez, the mayor gets lambasted for not doing anything for the homeless, then he unveils plans to help the homeless and he gets lambasted. He can't win.

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Yeah, because he deserves lambasting.

Homelessness isn't something new. He's had a whole term to work on the issue. He gets reelected, and his big solution is to spend *another* four years raising money from private sources to build a dorm to house 200 people at a time. Seriously? And he thought he was capable of putting together an Olympics?

Why do we settle for leadership like this? Hey, Mike Bloomberg, you're needed a little north.

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That math doesn't work ...

You can't build 200 units of housing for $10 million (that's $50,000 per unit) so yeah, I guess the commenter is correct, he's talking about a dormitory?

I think $100 million to build a bridge is a waste of money, but maybe that's just me. I know we were all after him to rebuild, back in 2014, but time has passed and we've all calmed down. Leave it accessible only by sea and put that $100 million in infrastructure funds into something else that benefits those in need.

And, regarding where to put the housing, I'm sure my fellow Seaport District neighbors would be as welcoming as anyone. The area is pretty difficult to access by public transportation, though, plus it doesn't have a lot of neighborhood amenities that people of any class can use, so I don't know if it's a logical choice. Plus, on whose land? Put it in the Marine Park? Not sure if that's an acceptable use (and it's far, far from anything and everything). MassPort has plenty of land so maybe a deal could be worked out. Other than that, most is in the hands of private developers so you'd have to pay market-rate.

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Now, John

You know you don't have "neighbors" in the Seaport District. You have people who pay a lot of money to live in a developer's soon to be very wet dream.

And do a little polling among the fountains of human kindness that permeate the stinkiest area of the city and you'll find their answers about low income housing will most likely reflect a rottenness unrivaled by the fish market.

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I disagree- the bridge is

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I disagree- the bridge is still very important. Massachusetts has a terrible opiate problem (7th worst in the nation in terms of ODs). Many towns don't have adequate addiction services, so people come to Boston looking for help.

Since the Long Island shutdown, the treatment clinics are basically downtown. People have to walk the gauntlet to get to these services- it's so easy to buy drugs in the city the temptation must be brutal. Plus treatment centers aren't necessarily located near the shelters. Lots of people hanging out on the streets.

Let's get that dang bridge back up and running, so that we can have the shelters and treatments in the same place, far away from the pushers on methadone mile. We have to attack our opioid problem from as many angles as possible, instead of hoping for the best (despite our OD levels getting worse every year).

https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/statedeaths.html

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Chronically homeless?

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That is an awkward way to word something. What is the difference between someone who is homless and chronically homeless?

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If Quincy objects (NIMBYism

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If Quincy objects (NIMBYism is strong there), what's the recourse for Boston?

Can the state/governor overrule them?

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Thanks, Bank of America.

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Thanks, Bank of America.

FYI, $250,000 from Bank of America is just under four days' worth of their CEO's salary ($24.8M/year, or $67,945.21/day). Cite. Probably also a rounding error on their daily balance sheet.

One would think that to expedite this effort, the project could get a low/zero interest loan for $10M from some generous corporate citizen like BofA, now, such that work can get underway, now, and then the fund can spend the next four years collecting donations to pay it off.

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Why is it a good thing to

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Why is it a good thing to have a homeless shelter on Long Island?

Besides the fact that the building exists there, I don't see any other advantages. It puts homeless people far away from any services that can't be provided on the island. They have to wake up really early to get on a bus downtown -- otherwise they'd waste the whole morning waiting. It makes it virtually impossible for them to find work. And a whole lot of money is spent on buses back and forth, which could better be spent on actual social services.

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As a shelter, no

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But as a treatment and detox location, isolating people on an island sounds like a great idea to me.

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Just because it's an

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Just because it's an addiction treatment facility doesn't change the fact that you're giving away public land to a corporation and building them a free bridge, Marty. It's still blatantly obvious that this administration evicted homeless people in order to provide more corporate welfare.

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Spare Change News has best reporting on Long Island Bridge

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Spare Change News, written by current/former homeless women and men, has done excellent reporting on the politics of Long Island Bridge over the years. Better than the Globe by far.

Good history:

Plenty more via Google.