Changes are in the air…

New name, new logo but the mission remains the same!

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In the Fall of 2014, a small group of Downtown Boston residents came together to mobilize against a proposed 43,000+ sq. foot entertainment complex in the neighborhood. We were compelled to act based on the information at hand and because residents lacked a proper voice in the process – we believed fervently that our neighborhood and beloved City deserved better than what was being proposed. We appreciated the critical importance of residents in the ongoing revitalization of Downtown Boston and recognized that residents, as citizens and taxpayers, have a fundamental right to have a voice in matters that stand to impact quality of life and the ongoing development of their neighborhood.

We founded the Residents’ Association for one simple reason: to enable civic engagement. We expected to engage 30-40 residents across a few residential buildings but what transpired over a few short weeks was completely unexpected. Through word of mouth, basic research of the proponent’s public filings, and a data driven approach, hundreds of Downtown Boston residents organized and engaged to shine the spotlight on obvious issues with the proposed entertainment complex and its proponent. Despite being dubbed obstructionists by some, we carried forward. History confirms that this effort was both prudent and necessary. As anticipated, the proponent of the failed project is facing several labor lawsuits in multiple states and continues to shutter locations nationwide. Our neighborhood and City deserved better.

What initially started out as a small, informal group of residents coming together to respond to a challenge quickly evolved into a robust, active residents’ association with over 400 members and growing from across 15 Downtown Boston residential buildings. The Association remains 100% independent and volunteer resident driven. It remains committed to engaging, informing, and empowering Downtown Boston residents by creating a forum for discussion and debate on a wide range of topics related to quality of life and development in Downtown Boston.

Today, we are pleased to share an exciting announcement and milestone. Based on your feedback, discussions with stakeholders, and our experiences over the past year and a half, the Leadership Team of what has been known as the Midtown Cultural District Residents’ Association has decided to rename the Association to Downtown Boston Residents’ Association to more closely align with the neighborhood’s current identity. Our new website address is www.downtownRA.org. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

MCDRA Neighborhood Meeting…

 

From the MCDRA:

Dear Members,

Our March meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 17  at 7:00PM (Suffolk Law School):

Monday, March 14, 2016 at 7:00PM
Suffolk University Law School (4th FL, Courtroom, Room 425)
120 Tremont Street
(Handicap Accessible)

               Agenda

7:00PM Boston Police Department and MBTA Transit Police Update

7:15PM Announcement regarding expansion of the MCDRA Leadership Team – positions described below.* We are looking to fill these volunteer positions following our March meeting

7:30PM Chris Cook, Commissioner, Boston Parks & Recreation, will be joining us for a discussion around our open spaces, including the Boston Common and the new proposed Visitor Center

8:15PM Other Updates, including the proposed developments at 171 Tremont Street, 533 Washington Street, and Bromfield / Washington Streets

*As we continue to grow, we are looking to evolve from a small Executive Committee to a more robust Leadership Team. We are seeking to fill the following volunteer positions following our March meeting:

Technology Co-Manager
Assist with updating website, sending out meeting notices and announcements, helping with speaker / meeting presentations. Help to develop and curate timely web and social media content

Membership & Public Relations Manager
Conduct outreach to neighborhood buildings and condo associations within the MCDRA geographic area. Help recruit and welcome new members. Work with the Downtown BID, The Boston Globe, etc. to publicize association and neighborhood announcements

Social Coordinator
Plan and implement activities such as neighborhood tours, wine tastings, and other activities based on the interests of members. Encourage opportunities for feedback and participation.

Meeting & Events Co-Manager
Serve as a liaison with Suffolk University and others to secure monthly meeting location. Liaise with Leadership Team and residents to suggest and determine monthly speakers, extend invitations and set monthly agendas.

Estimated Time Commitment for each role
1. Monthly residents meeting (1.5 – 2 hours)
2. Leadership Team meeting (1 – 2 hours)
3. Time spent on your volunteer activity (1.5 – 3 hours)
Best,

Rishi Shukla, George Coorssen, Deva Hirsch
Executive Committee

About the Midtown Cultural District Residents’ Association (MCDRA)

The Midtown Cultural District Residents’ Association (MCDRA) is an independent organization that was formed in October 2014 by residents of Boston’s Midtown / Downtown Crossing neighborhood. The organization, run exclusively by volunteers residing in the neighborhood, facilitates community building and ensures that residents are informed and have a voice in key decisions that stand to impact the quality of life in and development of Midtown / Downtown Crossing. MCDRA requires that members disclose any conflicts of interest and that they reside in the neighborhood.

 

Tonite!

Dear Members,Happy Spring!  Please join us for the next meeting of the Midtown Cultural District Residents’ Assocation (MCDRA) on April 13th:Monday, April 13, 2015 at 7:00PM
The Modern Theatre
525 Washington Street(Handicap Accessible)Thank you to Suffolk University for making this space available to MCDRA

(Unless otherwise noted, MCDRA meetings are held at 7PM on the second Monday of each month)

We will welcome Bob Mayerson, CEO, and other members of the Patriot Care team, which is proposing to open and operate a medical marijuana dispensary at 21 Milk Street in Midtown / Downtown Crossing.  We will also welcome Rosemarie Sansone, President of the Downtown Boston BID, who will be discussing the business community’s perspective on the proposed dispensary. The presentations will be followed by Q&A.

Meeting Notes from MCDRA March Meeting

A special thank you to John Nucci, Jason Wright, James Kaufman, Ben Sigda and their team for hosting the March MCDRA meeting.  Their generous hospitality in providing us with a meeting home in-kind is greatly appreciated!

Elected Officials’ Offices Represented & Special Guests:  State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz; Patrick Lyons of State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz’s office; Sophia Wang, Neighborhood Representative with Councillor At-Large Michelle Wu’s office; and Will Dickerson of Councilor At-Large Michael Flaherty’s office.  Also in attendance were Sgt. Jimmy Chin of the Boston Police Department and Lt. Cmdr. Chris Maynard of the MBTA Transit Police.

Rishi Shukla, MCDRA Executive Committee, welcomed past and new attendees and provided a brief history of the MCDRA.  He also shared that the website has some new features, including an events calendar where members may view and suggest events. To view upcoming events, please visitwww.mcdra.org/events. To suggest an event, please visit www.mcdra.org/events/community.

Dr. Marilyn Plotkins, Professor and Chair, Department of Theater at Suffolk University and Artistic Director of the Modern Theater, welcomed guests. She gave an overview of the Theater’s founding, restoration and current programming.  She encouraged all to return to a live performance at the Theater.

State Representative Aaron Michlewitz introduced himself and provided information on current issues and his proposed legislation.  Rep. Michlewitz also expressed his excitement about the formation of a residents’ association in Midtown / Downtown Crossing and plans to hold a casual drop-in coffee hour for residents during the coming months.

Next, members heard an initial presentation from the 171 Tremont Street project team, which is proposing a condominium development at 171-172 Tremont Street. The letter of intent that was submitted to the Boston Redevelopment Authority is posted here. The project team shared that their plans for the proposed condominium development were still in the early stages. This was the first time the team had presented their plans to the community. The majority of questions from members were related to the proposed height (355 feet) of the building and the fact that the current proposal exceeds zoning regulations.

The project team’s presentation has been posted to our website and can be accessed here.  Also, as promised, we have developed a survey to ensure that residents have an opportunity to provide feedback – this survey can be accessed here.  Preliminary results will be presented at our April meeting and will also be shared with the project team and City of Boston officials.  The project team has agreed to present their revised plans at an upcoming meeting.

Rishi thanked Laurie & Mark LaConte and Jane Fine for kick-starting a social component to MCDRA.  A paper survey was circulated at the meeting.  Please take a moment to complete the survey here.

We look forward to seeing you on April 13th!

Best,

Rishi Shukla, George Coorssen, Deva Hirsch
Executive Committee

Snow Knocks Out Monday MCDRA Meeeting

Originally scheduled for Monday, February 9th…

Due to the expected snowstorm early next week, we have decided to reschedule our February meeting to Wednesday, February 11th:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015, 7:00PM
Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Boston Common
Grand Ballroom
10 Avery Street, Boston
Cash bar for those interested!

We look forward to seeing you then!

Best,

Rishi Shukla, George Coorssen, Deva Hirsch
Executive Committee

MCDRA Gains Steam in the Neighborhood…

Last Night at the Modern Theater approximately 100 residents from the surrounding area attended the third neighborhood meeting  and the group is getting the attention of City Hall.

The Midtown Cultural District Residents’ Association, , which started with a mere 3 folks participating, has grown up rapidly and it has shown not to shy away from any and all topics. From traffic and security to a medical marijuana dispensary,  discussions are lively and  open to all.

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Sargent  James Chin of the Boston Police Department (seated on the right), spoke at length about the safety of  the neighborhood and gave great insight as to what the Department is doing out on the streets surrounding our homes.

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From the Boston City CouncilAyanna Pressley  stopped in to throw her support behind the organization and it’s efforts to keep residents informed and pro-active.

There was also a brief discussion on the proposed new “skinny” tower at the corner of Avery and Tremont Streets. However, details at this time are sparse, so look for more action on this front at the next meeting which will be  Monday, February 9th. The location yet to be determined.

One bit of gossip, street talks say Latitude 360 may not be happening.

As always, you can check out the website  at mcdra.org to get involved.

 

 

 

Midtown Association Meets Again…

A few nights ago , a standing room only group crowded into Sip Restaurant a for another general meeting of the Midtown Cultural District Residents’ Association.

With attendance doubling to 100  from the last meeting, new folks were brought up to date on exactly what the Association was all about, plus the issues in the neighborhood.

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Many were particularly interested in hearing about the proposal of Latitude 360 entertainment complex on Washington Street.

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Pictured above  is  Rishi Shukla of the Association’s Executive Committee leading the presentation for the evening.

Also on the agenda was a very popular discussion of the new Roche Brothers supermarket scheduled to open at the new Millennium Tower . Store doors of the first phase will be open in March of 2015.

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VP of Roche Bros., Paul McGillivary, filled us in on the details . The first phase will be a full supermarket and by the end of 2016 the entire store will take up about 30,000 sqft. There will also be some seating including an area on the patio. Needless to say, his presentation was very well received!

Below are some of the renderings he brought along to share with the group.

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The next meeting of the Association is scheduled for January 12th with a location to be determined.

Learn more at mcdra.org

 

 

 

 

This is Important and You Should Know…

Or better yet, get involved.

A new resident’s association has formed in our neighborhood.

The Midtown Cultural District Resident’s Association and it has a pretty cool looking website to check out: www.mcdra.org .

Last night I attended their meeting with about 40 other folks from the surrounding area. Owners from Tremont on the Common, Parkside, Grandview and other buildings met for more than an hour at Millennium Place to discuss various issues which have generated interest on the street.

This new association was born out of the concern for the recent revelation that Latitude 360 was planning to open a mega entertainment/restaurant/sports bar/bowling alley…you name it,  complex. (see my post from October 9th for more details).

The Association is a bit unique in that it is only open to residents, no businesses or commercial aspects which is different from most other associations.

Their mission is: ” to facilitate community building” in the neighborhood. 

Looks like the next meeting will be held on December 15th at 7pm. Location to be determined but probably back at Millennium Place.

Update: The Association is really only open to residents that live in the Neighborhood, so shoot them an email and they will keep you post on meetings and agendas.

 

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