Letter: My Twenty-Four Hours in Charlestown

Danielle Valle-Fitzgerald reports on her survey of the town.

On July 19, I had one of the most exciting experiences I have had in my tenure as the Charlestown Liaison to the Mayor. I spent a full 24 hours straight in the community getting to spend time with residents and business owners. Though I spend many hours in the community between my duties in and out of the office, it was great to engage with residents for a more consistent span of time.

I started my day at the Grasshopper Café with the owner Kevin Smith discussing neighborhood issues. I then walked the business district with Diane Grant of the Charlestown Chamber of Commerce. We walked up and down Main Street, meeting with business owners and hearing their concerns.

After a delicious lunch at Toni Ann’s, I met up with Kelly Tucker of the Mishawum tenants’ association to see ways in which the City of Boston can better support the tenants of Mishawum. She alerted me of some damaged sidewalks and missing slip guards, which I relayed to the Public Works Department. I also learned that sixteen of the Mishawum buildings are solar powered.

I spent the rest of my day at Doherty Park, and then attended a school choice meeting at the Warren Prescott. It was great to spend time with parents discussing the school assignment process.

Once the sun went down, I drove through all of Charlestown to do a street light inventory to assure that all lights are efficient, effective, and have power.  I have since given this list to the Public Works Department, and they are in the process of expediting all of these. Just today ten of the lights that were out have been replaced.

From midnight to four, I had the pleasure of participating on a police ride along with an exceptional officer. Though it was a very quiet night, we spent the time driving around the neighborhood checking problem areas. Before this, I never realized how much of a police presence there is in Charlestown at night. From walking through Doherty Park to checking on problem areas, the police are everywhere. I spent the rest of my night checking problem areas, and then checked on the construction areas to make sure no projects were starting before 7 AM.

This was an incredibly educational experience. I especially want to thank Diane Grant, Kelly Tucker, and the police department for being so accommodating. I know that this experience will better my ability to serve the community.

-Danielle Valle-Fitzgerald

Jo-Anne Wallace July 25, 2012 at 10:40 AM
you live in the town been liason for over a yr. you should already know charlestown.
Sylvia Carroll July 25, 2012 at 11:20 AM
Did Diane walk the Harbor Walk by Shipway Marina? The walkway is in terrible condition. Someone is going to get hurt there. Can anything been done?
Matt Hauber July 25, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Soon, you will be able to check to be sure Domino's Pizza is delivering in 30 minutes our less.
Just a person! July 25, 2012 at 11:47 AM
Did you happen to stroll down Rutherford ave to see the mess there? Or better still start your walk at City Sq. and go to Sullivan Sq along Rutherford around 3:00 pm notice the traffic an rubbish. And I bet walking you will beat half the commuters that are driving!:-}
Jimmy G. July 25, 2012 at 12:07 PM
So you spent 24 hours here and didn't walk down Bunker Hill St. to say Hayes Sq. Then maybe down Corey st to Newtown. There is more to Charlestown then Main St., Doherty Park and riding around with the police. Sounds to me like you missed more than you gained. Maybe no one told you there is another side to the Town. The fun you could have had down on Medford st. You could have stood in front of the Newtown store and watched the kids dodge the cars. Its like the real life game of Frogger but its all good cause Main st has what 4 stop lights, Medford st has 1 but thank god 10 lights have been fixed and no one is working before 7am. Way to go thanks for coming. I mean its only 1sq mile you should have been able to see the WHOLE town twice if not three times. I hear the new walk way to Cambridge needs some cleaning also, in 24 hours you could have done that your self.
Jo-Anne Wallace July 25, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Elaine Donovan July 25, 2012 at 12:20 PM
Thank You Danielle! I know how devoted you are to your position. I believe the story is about "24 hrs in Charlestown" Danielle works in Charlestown. She's from this town, and knows this town. The story is about what she did in the 24 hrs. She certainly spends much more time here. It's about that particular 24 hrs! Give her a break! She's only one person, doing a wonderful job! Thanks again Danielle!!!
Jimmy G. July 25, 2012 at 12:28 PM
I know you dont live in Newtown any more I assume you still spend time there but if you did still live there wouldn't you be a little upset that in like you said 24 Hours she didn't stop in and talk to the residents there? At least check out where they have been trying to get a stop light for over 2 years now i think. Like you said its about the 24 hours thats a long time in 1 sq mile. So say it takes 2 hour's a mile to walk and talk. Lets see how my math is 1 sq thats four sides that is 8 hours 1 time around 16 more left what to do what to do maybe check out the other side not just Main St. is all i am saying !!!!!
The Workingman July 25, 2012 at 12:38 PM
Sorry Elaine but i have to agree with Benny hill there. Why didn't she come by Newtown? They have a tenants board also ? Could have also meet the president of youth football and not sure Mary's title for girls softball she helps with or runs. Just would have been nice also in that 24 hours period.
townie for life July 25, 2012 at 01:17 PM
FYI Jack Kelly QUIT! If you have an issue in the neighborhood try calling Danielle to see about getting it resolved instead of just slamming her on the Patch.
The Workingman July 25, 2012 at 01:28 PM
Who's slamming her ? Sounds like people are just making some valid points about what she is promoting. Also why are you slamming Jack he has nothing to do with this story. Sounds like your the one doing the slamming ......
Betty Lindsey July 25, 2012 at 01:33 PM
It's worse than terrible. I see more people fall over those board that are not even nailed down than I can count
Charlestown joe July 25, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Well, I have personally worked with Danielle on a few things in the town, she is doing a fantastic job and should be thanked and not bashed on here. It is a thankless job, no matter how much you do, it is never enough for some people. She probably spends more time here than some of our wonderful residents!
The Workingman July 25, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Where down Main St.? Sorry Danielle but like Bunker hill said the kids down here have to play Frogger with the cars as they wait for a traffic light but main st gets them no problem. Just agreeing with them that there is another side to the town. I could be wrong but dont see her walking around this end of the town and Charlestown Joe No one told her to do the job, if you did it to get thanks should be doing something else and also saying "it is never enough for some people" how about just a little is that to much ?
Betty Lindsey July 25, 2012 at 02:36 PM
I am not bashing her. I am just stating that she needs to look at a lot more than just Main St and Doherty Park. I was just trying to bring this to attention of anyone who will listen or look at the problem. If it appeared that I was bashing I apologize
glum July 25, 2012 at 02:37 PM
I agree with the comment about Rutherford Ave - I was just saying yesterday how much of a mess it is. There are weeds the size of small trees lining rutherford ave going both ways. There is trash everywhere. I don't understand how some areas are so well taken care of and other seem to be ingnored. As someone else mentioned, there is more to Charlestown than just Main Street. And yes, the traffic on Rutherford has been horrible for the past couple of months.. is there something that can be done about that?
John Riley July 25, 2012 at 02:42 PM
I have to agree.. She has not been down my end. Also if she really wanted to get to know Charlestown as this assignment wanted then maybe she should have walked the projects with a street worker oh yeah wait we dont have one,. Maybe she could have still walked around there sure she could have found someone to do it with and looked around to see how life is like in the projects instead of looking up in the sky at the sunset and the lights. Lets get real this was nothing but a puff piece. Be real people there are real problems here and this was a chance to really get into it but instead she floated through it with her head in the clouds and dont give me that she is only one person bull she is the person who is suppose to be doing it the MAYOR'S Liaison the eyes and ears of the city. Stop fooling yourselves this is why nothing gets done. What she should have done is walk down the field and see how the construction will effect the Youth football program by closing off there access to there concession stand which is there main source of money to run the program. Who is going to replace that money? what they service 300 mostly poor kids but yeah 10 street lights are fixed YEAH !!!!! Excuse me while i jump for joy insert sarcasm here
Nathan Blanchet July 25, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Nice work, Danielle, and thank you for writing and posting. I'd say you planned your 24 hours well, getting a sample of businesses, residences, parks, infrastructure, schools, and public safety. And the fact that you achieved something tangible (the lights) is great. Since you obviously can't see and write about everything in 24 hours, I hope you'll do more of these (in addition to your regular work in the community), maybe once a quarter?
Molly Malone July 25, 2012 at 04:47 PM
The piece is yransparent fluff and has been called as transparent fluff.
Jay K. July 25, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Thanks for spending the time Danielle. It would be great to have you more often.
Paul Hollien Jr July 25, 2012 at 08:18 PM
Great Job Danielle! I think you covered a lot of high properly issues and will continue to address the rest of our concerned Umbria neighborhood. I think the readers have brought up some importaint issues that need resolution or at the least to be looked into and knowing Danielle she will take care of them. This article was not a fluff piece for Danielle to "show off" but an article explaining some of the things she did in the community in 24 hours. I am heavily involved in the town and have seen nothing but hard work and dedication to her job. I understand everyones concerns and strongly urge you to be as vocal as possible with them, but think expressing them at a neighborhood council meeting rather than this article would help get your points across and hopefully lead to a quicker resolution.
Jimmy G. July 25, 2012 at 08:36 PM
Yeah because expressing our concerns about not wanting a Domino's at the council meetings worked so well... I think every issue brought up needs a resolution. 1. The NEW walkway needs to be maintained 2. Rutherford ave needs to be cleaned. 3. Youth sports losing access to there concession stand... HUGE ONE - who dropped that ball at city hall 4. kids playing "frogger" with cars is another huge issue. Sorry only had 24 hours if i missed something posted above. Serious though in 24 hours I think and a lot of others agree could have done a better job or should have done a better job than strolling around looking for street lights. "We have serious problems and need serious people to solve them" ... Stole that one from a movie i saw I forget the name of it anyways. Again she is no doubt a great person but this is a 24 hr thankless job but a job that can get things done and should and i think the anger at least mine is not directed at HER but the title and the job. What the other side of town not represented by the mayors liaison ? Hey hows Domino's doing are they in there yet???
Jimmy G. July 25, 2012 at 08:45 PM
This is off topic a little but again the other end gets nothing??? Story in the patch Hubway Coming to Charlestown by End of Summer...approved a Hubway station for the corner of Main Street and Austin Street by the Bunker Hill Mall and The second location, should it be approved, would add a rack of bicycles near the intersection of Warren Street and Chelsea Street. So someone who lives on Mystic street or Pearl st or Cook street sides of Medford st or even Newtown they have to go down the other end of town. Yeah its 1sq Mile but if you want a Police station or a sober house put that down that other end... such a joke.....
Charlestown joe July 25, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Rather have a Police Station and or Sober House, than domino's( coming soon) or a dog washing place,(also coming to the mall) nail salon Or wait I know! why not another dry cleaners!
Elaine Donovan July 25, 2012 at 11:10 PM
No I don't live in Newtown anymore, but I care about this ENTIRE community. This is MY HOME and I Love it here! Yes I do spend time there still, and have talked to many residents who were not aware that there was an issue involving a stop light. I also happen to know for a fact that there was a problem involving Charlesnewtown, where Danielle was contacted, and she rectified the situation in a very timely manner. Showing that, with a call by a resident (from any part of our neighborhood), Danielle is there doing her best. Which is exactly what she's being judged so harshly for doing! I'm sure if you voiced your own concerns directly to her, you would most likely be satisfied with the outcome as well.
charlestoon toonie July 26, 2012 at 03:31 AM
lisa mcgoff should have got the job paul get out of bed with the uppies
charlestoon toonie July 26, 2012 at 03:33 AM
maybe she and the mothers group will hold signs for you someday you sell out
charlestoon toonie July 26, 2012 at 03:40 AM
whats a matter paul you didnt like that
Marianne Faithfull July 26, 2012 at 12:46 PM
One question: what was she doing for the other eleven months? Yeah, surely a case of a fluff piece gone wrong.
ctownBOS August 24, 2012 at 06:21 PM
How about upgrading the street lights on all streets to the ones on Bunkerhill? When will that happen. These lights are terrible and an eye sore. And the power lines? I thought they were suppose to get buried? Seems they started to but stopped at Cook st. Trucks cant even get down some of these streets without snagging the lines. terrible!


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