Avesta Housing Responds to Neighbors Concerns About Dust Control & Communications; Promises to do Better

Tom Ouillett Gives A Thumbs Up to the Photographer

Seth Parker, Avesta Housing, Listening to the 50 or so at EECS.

By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,888)

Last night the developers of the former Adams School on the Hill got an earful from about fifty neighbors who attended an informational meeting to clear the air about concerns surrounding the preliminary work at the site on Moody Street. The meeting was held at the East End Community School and ran from 6 pm to 8:15 pm. Seth Parker, represented Avesta Housing. The meeting was organized by the Munjoy Hill Neighborhood Organization.

What precipitated the abutters panic, was the felling of a tree early last week that sent a thick cloud of dust into neighbors homes. “I was at work and someone emailed me the video of the cloud of dust. My house was engulfed,” said Jan-Marie Lindholm. “That was bad,” said Jedd Steinglass, Senior Project Manager for Credere Associates, LLC. He acknowledged that the felling of the trees on site had been ahead of schedule and so there was no dust control technology on site; water. The topsoil that blew into peoples’ homes and apartments had traces of arsenic in it, although DEP official Nicholas J. Hodgkins assured the vocal crowd that it was not at levels that are at risk for humans. “One dust plume is not a health risk,” said Hodgkins.

Tom Ouillett, Wilson Street, asked: “What other sorts of environmental concerns are there? How will you communicate them to us? Prior to the construction of the former Adams School, the site was used as an industrial location. It was a lead paint factory, a grenade factory and a trolley museum repair shop. So below the surface soil, there is lead. But if you don’t ingest that soil into your body, there should be no concerns of lead poisoning. While plans are not yet finalized, there was a commitment to send timely progress reports via emails to a list developed by Seth Parker.

Several other concerns from the neighbors concerned parking and the playground. Parker agreed to contact the city to determine whether or not a portion of the property not being develped by Avesta could be used for parking by the neighbors during the construction. Questions remain about the Marada Adams Playground. It is hoped that it will be ready for use again by neighborhood children by November. Questions remain about the design of it, but Parker said it will be built with the current plans. It was recommended that Avesta convene another meeting to discuss more details about the playground.

“Just don’t eat the dirt,” quipped one member of the public as the meeting dispersed around 8:30 pm.

Please see Post # 1,187 for more background information on this.

editor’s note: The caption under the above right photograph should be: Tom Ouillett Gives a Thumbs up to the Photographer.