Mayor Menino Announces Charlestown Connects
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For Immediate Release
October 27, 2006
Released By:
Mayor's Office
For More Information Contact:
Press Office
pressoffice@cityofboston.gov



Mayor Menino Announces Charlestown Connects

Collaborative effort to improve the neighborhood

Mayor Thomas M. Menino today made a strong message in Charlestown when he announced Charlestown Connects, a major effort to bring together a comprehensive network of support services to residents of the neighborhood. Mayor Menino also named Jack Kelly, a long-time resident, to take over as Charlestown's Neighborhood Coordinator in the Mayor's Office.

"Our goal is to make Charlestown a stronger, more vibrant community," Mayor Menino said. "The people of Charlestown have a tremendous sense of community. Moving forward, let's take that sense of community and expand it so the great people and organizations who work here are all working together."

Charlestown Connects will focus on five areas: public safety, substance abuse and mental health services, youth and families, education, training and jobs, and community investment. Mayor Menino's goal is to make Charlestown safer, more attractive and better functioning and give residents the opportunity to improve their lives. Mission Safe, Mass General Hospital (MGH), Families First and the Charlestown Substance Abuse Coalition are all on board and the city will continue to reach out to more organizations.

Most of the crime in Charlestown, like the rest of the country, is drug related. MGH is committing $3 million to expand substance abuse and mental health services in Charlestown. New services MGH plans to provide include $1million in expanded mental health, substance abuse, and social services at a satellite location near the Bunker Hill housing development. Also, a $2 million capital grant to develop the Charlestown Recovery House, a 25-bed half-way house for men over age 18 who are sober and in recovery from alcohol and drug addition.

"Mayor Menino has a keen understanding that solving Charlestown's complex challenges will require a comprehensive and sustained effort involving law enforcement, health care, education, jobs and economic development. Massachusetts General Hospital has been a partner in improving the health of Charlestown residents since 1968 and we are deeply committed to working with Mayor Menino and residents of Charlestown to make this a safe and healthy community," said Peter L. Slavin, President of Massachusetts General Hospital.

Boston Police will be expanding patrols and placing a walking beat officer at the Bunker Hill housing development and directing the Anti-Crime Unit to work closely with the A-1 Drug Control Unit to target drug activity. They will also work with the Tenants Task Force to form a Crime Watch. Cameras and metal detectors are being placed at Charlestown High School, as well as a photo ID system. The city is also working with community partners to add youth outreach workers and strengthen early intervention efforts. The city's Neighborhood Jobs Trust has issued $1 million RFP for community based organizations to do job skills training in the neighborhood and Charlestown Connects will help people of all ages get the skills they need to secure good jobs.

The city has committed $12 million to building a new police station and $4 million to upgrading playing fields at Charlestown High School. Mayor Menino has also asked that a Neighborhood Response Team be established for Charlestown, so neighbors can have better communication with city departments who deal with everyday quality of life issues. Besides naming a Neighborhood Coordinator, Mayor Menino announced that the Recreation Department has assigned a full-time manager specifically for Charlestown and the expansion of programs for Friday and Saturday nights. He announced the city helped the Mission Safe program at St. Catherine's Church secure a $75,000 grant to hire additional outreach workers, with the goal of tripling the number of workers in Charlestown. And that Mike Allen has been named the Chief Operating Officer of Charlestown High School with the aim of getting more kids to come back to school.

"Our goals for Charlestown Connects are the same goals we have for the city as a whole: that everyone feels safe and secure in their neighborhood. That every child has the opportunity to reach his or her potential. That families are well housed. That people of all ages get training and access to the next generation of jobs. That opportunity is expanded for everyone in the community," Mayor Menino added.

Different city departments have been in the neighborhood all week removing trash and graffiti, repairing streetlights, installing street signs and painting crosswalks, removing abandoned cars, cleaning catch basins, street sweeping and trimming trees. Those departments include Transportation and Public Works, Property Management, Inspectional Services, Parks, the Boston Water and Sewer Commission, Boston Police, Boston Housing Authority, the MWRA and Project Pride.

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