Christopher Columbus Park and the Columbus Statue:
Mayor Walsh, joined by State Representative Aaron Michlewitz, came out in opposition towards the vandalism of Christopher Columbus Park’s namesake statue.
Walsh and Michlewitz emphasized the fundamental rights and involvement of all North End neighborhood residents in helping to shape future discussions and decision-making regarding the potential return of the statue and the naming of the park itself.
As for the statue, it is currently being held in storage. Extensive refurbishment is required as the head has been broken up into several pieces and might not be able to be repaired
The Mayor also urged residents to understand all sides of the statue’s significance and drew clear lines of separation between Wednesday morning’s criminal act and peaceful protestors attempting to send a message and invite change.
Boston Police are currently investigating and have yet to release any updates on the case.
Protests and Reform Legislation
Speaking more broadly on the protests erupting in Massachusetts and across the nation, Mayor Walsh encouraged people to actively listen, engage in thoughtful conversations and ultimately work together in what he referred to as “a time of high emotion and tension throughout communities.”
The Mayor also referenced some of these protests hitting close to home for North End residents, with small groups spotted in recent days marching down the Freedom Trail.
Progress made on the Massachusetts Police Reform Bill was also discussed, which calls for an immediate ban on chokeholds and an independent certification program among other pieces.
Rep Michlewitz spoke about the Restaurant Relief Bill which includes an allowance on-to-go cocktail and full liquor sales for the remainder of the year, waiving penalties and interest for late meals tax payments and a cap on delivery service fees at 15% in response to delivery services “pushing the envelope” in Michlewitz’s words, previously charging as high as 30% in some cases.
Outdoor Dining, Traffic and Parking Concerns
Mayor Walsh and Chief of Streets Chris Osgood described the process for the newly introduced ‘cafe zones‘ that has brought outdoor dining this week to the North End. City officials said the impetus is primarily to provide help the restaurant owners recover from the three-month shutdown that has put many on the brink of bankruptcy and make-up for the lack of space they will not have even when indoor dining returns in a few weeks. Whether indoor or outdoor, tables must be spaced 6 feet apart or have plexiglass dividers.
North End resident Darlene Romano sought clarity on parking availability for residents following the outdoor dining initiative. Chief of Streets Chris Osgood stated that conversations are being held with the Government Center Garage to allow parking for North End residents.
Resident Dave Kubiak expressed his concerns on public safety and around the newly designated “cafe zones” due to the proximity of cars and diners. Osgood replied that teams will be on the scene in the North End assessing the situation.
*** This article was published on NorthEndWaterfront.com on 6/12/2020 by Steven Vilkas ***