Councilors Introduce Resolution in Support of Forbes Proposal

The future of the 17.7-acre Forbes waterfront property is still up in the air, as a group of local non-profits continue to work together to purchase the property as a site for future affordable housing, green space, and waterfront access for Chelsea residents.

Last month, the Planning Board rejected a request by YIHE Forbes, LLC to extend their permits to build a 590-unit residential development on the property for one year.

Monday night, City Councilors Norieliz DeJesus, Tanairi Garcia, Melinda Vega, and Judith Garcia introduced a resolution requesting the City Council and city support efforts by GreenRoots, The Neighborhood Developers, Mystic River Watershed Association, and the Mass Audubon Society to purchase the property.

District 1 Councilor Todd Taylor made a motion that the resolution be moved to a subcommittee on conference for further discussion. Council President Leo Robinson said he believed there needed to be some discussion among the council about the role the city would play in any potential purchase of the Forbes property.

“It’s unfortunate that we cannot celebrate this evening this amazing vision for our community,” said DeJesus.

DeJesus thanked the local nonprofits working together on the potential purchase, as well as the different city departments that have listened to concerns and acknowledged that the proposed project is one that the city has needed for many years.

“This site is in my district, it is in my neighborhood and I can see it when I look out my window,” said DeJesus. “Every time I look at it, I am reminded of the current state of our housing crisis in the community which is continuing to increase, and yet here we have land that is literally wasting away. I want to acknowledge that this is a project that will bring forward green space, it will bring forward affordable housing, it will bring forward affordable home ownership and so many ideas and so many needs that our community continues to share that they need.”

Councilor-at-Large Damali Vidot said she supports the resolution and efforts by the nonprofits, but added that moving the resolution to subcommittee for further discussion does not necessarily mean some of her colleagues will not support it.

“I am reading the resolution and I’m getting the fuzzies inside at the idea that the community could come together and create affordable housing in an area that is climate resilient with green space,” said Vidot. “When I first got into the City Council, many of the nonprofits were very siloed, and seeing a group of them get together to try to do something for the betterment of the community makes my heart skip a beat.”

However, she said that some of the councilors might still want some more information about the city’s role in the project.

“I’m hoping that in the subcommittee, the nonprofits can come and we can talk about it and have an in-depth conversation about how this can benefit our community,” said Vidot.

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