3.6 min readBy Published On: May 18th, 2022Categories: News6 Comments

When part of a proposed plan to develop a 6.5 acre project was revealed to remove 39 honey locust trees from a parking lot on A Street, some Fort Point neighbors rallied together on a mission to try and save them.

Developer Related Beal is scheduled to redevelop a large-scale project known as Channelside—complete with three new buildings – two commercial and one residential.  It will be located at 244-284 A St. which is currently a large parking lot. 39 honey locust trees are literally on the chopping block  – with a plan to  remove them to make way for the development.

“The trees are perfectly healthy and quite beautiful,” said Rocco Giuliano,  one of the Fort Point residents who is helping with the save the trees mission.  He also added that one of the 39 trees, the oldest and largest, has been recently destroyed by utility work. 

Giuliano has been a resident of the 249 A Street Artists Cooperative since 2005. Residents of this residential artist community have been the most vocal about not only the trees – but also a much larger issue – a large scale luxury development in their neighborhood. Their building overlooks the parking lot in question. 

According to an article in the The Boston Globe, the artist residents have turned their anti-development movement into a public art installation via two large banners reading “We are Fort Point” and “Not Another Seaport”.  

The size and design of the buildings are what is causing the concern and residents are afraid the luxury development could ultimately change the fabric of Fort Point forever.  They want “to retain the quirkiness of the brick-and-beam neighborhood.”

Adding to the anti-development public art installation in that neighborhood is a colorful string of Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags tied to the trees by resident Phil Manna. Manna, a former science teacher, also created and hung signs stating the importance of trees to the environment like, I capture 1,000 gallons of rainwater each year, Kids living in places with more trees have a lower chance of asthma and the very powerful, Let me Live. 

Some of the trees have even been given “faces” with eyes and mouths by residents. 

“The many signs I posted are an attempt  to help passerbys better understand their value to us all.  According to data collected by the University of Vermont,  tree canopy in South Boston is the third lowest of all Boston neighborhoods. Trees can also help cities adapt to the effects of climate change,” said Manna.

Giuliano and Manna are working together to raise awareness of the situation with the ultimate goal of saving the trees.  A goal, that many might call “lofty” considering the power of developers in the neighborhoods. 

Landscape developer Robert Adams of Halvorson Design, working with Related Beal, is not thrilled with the idea that any trees have to be removed but has stated that project will repopulate 150+ trees with a net gain of roughly 100 trees. 

As to whether the trees can be left in their spots (which is about 2 feet in on the perimeter of the property line), Related executive vice president Stephen Faber told Giuliano via email that “our experts have reviewed the viability of transplanting and concluded it is such a low probability of success that it is not appropriate.” Faber also stated, “we will be adding literally dozens of trees on the site, to the streets, parks, and other open spaces.”

Channelside is still in the planning phase and under review by the Boston Planning and Development Agency. The public comment period is officially over and neighborhood residents have written letters in opposition.  So now, the waiting starts to see if this project is approved by the city or not.

When asked what would ultimately make the neighborhood happy, Giuliano said, It would make me happy if they scrapped or redesigned their project in line with existing zoning.  But I would consider it the first sign that the developer is listening to the community, if they spare the remaining 38 honey locust trees.” 

As to the developer’s proposed landscaping, including the promise of 150+ trees, Giuliano added, “We have no faith in their artist renditions of future lush greenery.”

6 Comments

  1. Domingo-Martin Barreres May 19, 2022 at 7:34 am - Reply

    Good morning Maureen,
    Lovely piece. Thank you! And thank you also for drawing attention to the banners, and our plight. While the banners were a labor of love, for the neighborhood I love and call home, they were an enormous undertaking (literally! :) ) and took considerable time and effort to create to get them to fruition, where they could hang out in public lol. So, thank you for seeing them. For seeing us!
    With gratitude,
    Domingo-Martin Barreres

  2. Joe cook May 19, 2022 at 4:56 pm - Reply

    I support saving the honey locust . I see our art part of our community of 02127 finally sees it the way of life long residents of our whole community. That is they are “against the over development “. Can I get a second and motion to carry by the voice of our truely concerned neighbors to stop this madness .
    Also can the art community make some homemade banners for PTSD month in June ?

  3. Virginia Kropas May 19, 2022 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    Regarding Landscape developer Robert Adams of Halvorson Design stating that project will replace 38/39 honey locusts with 150+ trees I ask how many decades of growth before each new small trees begins to capture the amount of rainwater at the level of any of the mature trees right now? How long before nitrogen sequestration begins? When will cooling effects of leafed-out trees take place at the street level? There is value in having green spaces and trees on the emotional and mental health of those in the buildings and folks moving through the area. Enough with the glass and steel heat sinks!

  4. Virginia Kropas May 19, 2022 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    Just like the people who rally to save the trees along Melnea Cass South Bostonians also should speak out to save the honey locust. But you have to appreciate what we have already. And still plant the extra 100+.

  5. Denise May 22, 2022 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    Is there anything we can do to save the trees at this point? Any city official we can write to? New trees would take forever to take and this area needs some greenery so badly!

    • Rocco Giuliano May 23, 2022 at 11:14 am - Reply

      Thanks, Denise. I’d email Steve Faber of Related Beal and Rob Adams of Halvorsen Design. They maintain that designing around the trees is impossible. I say that doing so is inconvenient and would require them to rethink the design — which they should do in any case in order to comply with existing zoning.

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