Letters to the Editor

Support of Suffolk Downs Development Proposal

Dear Editor,

The following letter was submitted to the Boston Planning and Development Agency and received by the Journal for publication

Dear BPDA Board Members:

I am a lifelong neighbor of the former Suffolk Downs racetrack, including residency in East Boston overlooking the site, and I currently reside in Winthrop which has a direct interest in the site due to its proximity. I have served the City of Boston as the Transportation Department Commissioner, as the Parks and Recreation Department Commissioner, as the Housing Inspection Department Commissioner and as the Manager of the East Boston Little City Hall. I enthusiastically endorse and support the HYM proposal before you regarding their innovative and comprehensive proposal for developing the disused former racetrack facility and urge the BPDA to expeditiously approve the proposal.

The HYM plan ingeniously connects both key public segments of the overall 161-acre site, East Boston with two thirds of the property and Revere with the other one third of the site. The HYM Suffolk Downs proposal is laudatory enough for its success in melding the various public policy requirements of these two diverse municipalities into a comprehensive and seamless design, a remarkable achievement.

The HYM commitment for providing some 1,500 affordable housing units in its mix of 10,000 total housing units is substantial and historic and would set a benchmark for other developers.

The HYM proposal to provide 40 acres of parks and open space would partially compensate East Boston for its decades of takings of community facilities such as Wood Island Park for public projects, such as Logan Airport, the Tunnels, Route 1A, et al.

The HYM proposal would optimize the public transit potential for serving the Suffolk Downs site by the two MBTA Blue Line stations in East Boston and Revere, substantially reducing any dependence of the property for vehicular access. The HYM plan would also significantly enhance much of the local roadway network to accommodate any moderate traffic increase that might occur.

John Vitagliano

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