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City machinations on Columbia Point school field raise questions

Schoolyard News brings us up to date on the tussling between City Hall - which wants to take a school yard now shared by kids at the Dever and McCormack schools and turn it over to some private group that could build its own recreational facility and improve public space there.

It's something the city has done before and is looking to expand. Only nobody told parents and students and DND said it couldn't talk to them before it gained control of the land and now even School Committee members - all appointed by the mayor - are raising questions.

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Comments

Watch this carefully. Indications are that the city is looking to privatize its community centers by building new places that replace the old, and having them sub-contracted to the private sector.

The Croc Center was the proverbial tip if this iceberg. They welcomed them, but have been systematically cutting back on their other community center holdings. Yes, they are making repairs and renovations... setting the stage for the future take overs. I mean... have you heard the one about building new facilities that have housing above or attached to replace what is already there? Could it be that some are on choice real estate that is worth gold bars?

Also watch for major changes to after school programs in these buildings in the coming year. The State licensing agency that oversees after school programs is forcing many of them to get state licensed where currently they are not (by the state). Some already have that status and work very well, others have yet to step up and have state license applications in the works, even more will farm out the programs to commercial or other non-profit entities to handle, such as the Y.

While there are some positive aspects of public-private partnerships, you need to watch things carefully. Not all projects touted as community positive, are, especially when the voice of the community that will be impacted is not heard or taken out of the equation.

This is Menino-era thinking that says government knows best and the public is an idiot and should have no say. The question is whether the people will continue to stand for this.

As always... show me the money.

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have you heard the one about building new facilities that have housing above or attached to replace what is already there?

Yes, I have, and that could be a good way to get affordable housing built since the city can absorb the otherwise high cost of the land. I'm turned off by those always assuming the city has bad intentions, including with good policy models that other cities are already doing.

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Really? All things you dont like are Menino-era now?

Pretty sure Walsh has been mayor long enough that we can call this Walsh-era thinking

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the tag is misspelled as well

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Both schools are located on Columbia Point? I think you're getting confused with the housing development called Harbor Point...

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There are some words I forever have problems with, and one of them is the proper spelling of the "Columbia" in "Columbia Point." I keep spelling it like the country, not like the gem of the ocean. Fixed.

Digression: And I am so glad the Museum of Our National Heritage in Lexington is now called something else, because that used to give me nightmares on the few times I had to write about it as a newspaper reporter, since I kept calling it the Museum of our Natural Heritage (back in the days when newspapers were well stocked with copy editors to fix the stupid mistakes reporters would make).

As for Harbor vs. Columbia, the apartment complex formerly known as Columbia Point is, indeed, now Harbor Point. But it's only one of the things located on Columbia Point - where you'll also find the two schools, the JFK Library, UMass Boston and BC High (as well as the remains of the Bayside Expo Center, a hotel, an office building and the Boston Teachers Union, oh, and some giant windowless bank building).

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It's not the Museum of our National Heritage any more? it used to be The Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Order of Scottish Freemasonry. I was kind of disappointed when I found that out, because every time I drove by the end of that driveway and saw the tasteful little sign that said "The Supreme Council," I had fantasies of it being where The Trilateral Commission met, or something.

What are they calling it now?

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for the poster not aware of the history, Columbia Point was such a troubled housing project it was shorthand nationally for "bad housing project" the way Cabrini Green in Chicago was. So, there was no way in hell it was going to stay Columbia Point, whereas when the Mission Main project was privatized it still has Mission in the name.

The JFK/UMass station was originally Columbia station and Columbia Road still crosses atop it.

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The city gave a park to northeastern university and the community never gets to use it and they have band practice at 6am. It is just another way to screw people.

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