Quincy Councillors Pass Affordable Housing Resolution

By SCOTT JACKSON

City councillors on Monday approved a resolution that asks the Planning Department to look into ways to encourage the creation of affordable housing in Quincy.

“We need to keep Quincy affordable [for] Quincy people,” said Councillor Noel DiBona, who introduced the resolution. “This resolution is an effort to keep more of Quincy affordable.

“There is state and federal money out there for this type of housing. This resolution asks what we can do to make sure the money comes to Quincy to fund housing here. This past October, the Healey-Driscoll administration laid out a $4 billion plan to jumpstart the production of homes and make housing more affordable. I’m asking the Planning Department to take a look at what we can do differently to encourage improvement in our housing stock.”

In his resolution, DiBona wrote that “the city of Quincy is increasingly becoming unaffordable” and the average rent in the city is now $2,700 per month. Housing is considered “affordable” when the tenant or homeowner pays no more than 30 percent of their gross income towards housing costs, he wrote, and, at $2,700 per month, Quincy is unaffordable to anyone making less than $100,000 a year.

Housing affordability impacts “not just the poor,” DiBona added, “but also the working class families of Quincy” and the city “has been and should remain a community affordable to all, including firefighters, police officers, teachers and other blue-collar workers.”

To that end, the resolution asks that the Planning Department review current local, state and federal affordable housing programs “to determine what if any impediments exist to the creation of affordable housing in Quincy and what if any local changes can be made to encourage affordable housing” in the city.

Areas of review, DiBona added, should include, but not be limited to, the city providing administrative assistance to income qualification and verification requirments, waiver of municipal fees, and the Affordable Housing Trust Fund funding the purchase of affordable deed restrictions to existing individual condominium units.

DiBona’s resolution was approved in an 8-0 vote on Monday – Ward 6 Councillor William Harris was not present at the meeting – and referred to the council’s oversight and housing committees.

City: Furnace Brook Clubhouse Project To Provide Neighborhood Benefits

Mayor Thomas Koch announced Tuesday that work continues on the new clubhouse facility at the city-owned Furnace Brook Golf Course Clubhouse.  The work is being performed by G&R Construction who was the low bidder on the job.  Work is expected to continue throughout 2024 and the new facility will be opened in early 2025.

An important part of the project is the city’s commitment to make improvements to the surrounding Forbes Hill neighborhood.  A water line is being looped from Reservoir Road through to Summit Avenue which will provide greater water pressure and flow at the top of Forbes Hill.

In addition, drainage is being added to the golf course parking lot.  Historically, there have not been any drainage structures in the lot and the water would sheet down Reservoir Road and Stoney Brae Road.  The City will now capture that stormwater on site and alleviate stormwater flowing down the hill.

In Forbes Hill Park, stormwater management is being implemented to help folks along Summit Avenue.  A drainage swale and a berm are being constructed to capture stormwater that has historically ran through properties on Summit Avenue and into the city’s drainage system.  An old MWRA pipe has been repurposed and is being used to take stormwater and groundwater off the park property and direct it properly into the city’s drainage system.

Along the first fairway of the golf course, a berm is being constructed to prevent stormwater from flowing into backyards along Summit Avenue.  The water will be redirected into the golf course’s drainage system which has been upgraded this winter.

The City’s Traffic Department has implemented traffic calming measures on Forbes Hill in response to many neighborhood concerns at a variety of public meetings.

“We made a commitment to the Forbes Hill neighborhood to address long-standing concerns as part of the improvements we are making to the park and golf course,” said Commissioner of Natural Resources Dave Murphy.  “Through three years of community meetings, workshops, and site visits we have developed a plan to not only enhance the amenities on the site but we are deliberately addressing the quality of life concerns we heard at multiple public meetings.  I want to thank the more than one-hundred people that have attended our meetings over the past few years and helped us make this project even better.”

Fatalities Due to Drowsy Driving Crashes Are 10X Higher Than Reported

As clocks spring forward for Daylight Saving Time on Sunday, the risk of drowsy driving crashes will also jump.

Research has found that crashes tend to increase in the days following the spring time change as drivers get behind the wheel while sleep-deprived and with their circadian rhythms out of whack. Previous AAA studies have outlined the risks associated with drowsy driving: drivers who slept for less than five hours the night before may have a crash risk comparable to driving drunk, and losing just a couple hours of sleep can double the risk of a crash.

Official statistics on the prevalence of drowsy driving have long been underestimated, since most drivers don’t admit to being drowsy after a collision. Now, new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows just how underreported these crashes are. According to the study, AAA estimates that drowsy driving is a factor in 10 times as many traffic fatalities as traditional crash data indicates.

The study, based on in-depth crash investigations and national fatal crash data, estimates that 18 percent of traffic fatalities between 2017 and 2021 involved a tired driver. A total of nearly 30,000 people died in those crashes. In 2021 alone, an estimated 6,725 people were killed in drowsy driving crashes – far higher than the 684 deaths reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In Massachusetts, between 2021 and 2023, there were 2,962 crashes where police indicated that drowsiness, fatigue or a driver falling asleep was a contributing factor, according to the state’s IMPACT crash data portal. That number likely also understates the extent of the problem.

 “We’ve long known that drowsy driving crashes are underreported, but learning just how common they are is alarming,” said Mark Schieldrop, Senior Spokesperson for AAA Northeast. “This new research is a wake-up-call and highlights sleep deprivation as a major traffic safety and public health concern. As Americans move their clocks ahead by one hour this weekend, they need to remember to monitor their sleep schedule to prevent drowsiness on the road. Remember, the only substitute for a lack of sleep is sleep.”

While 95 percent of drivers surveyed by AAA perceive drowsy driving to be very or extremely dangerous, 18 percent reported having engaged in the behavior in the past 30 days. In the bustle of modern life, many families forego sleep to meet their work, school and social obligations. And additional AAA research has found that drivers consistently underestimate how drowsy they are behind the wheel. Tragically, losing sleep is also causing loss of life on our roadways.

Marian Berkowitz, founder of the Drowsy Driving Project, lost her brother, Jim, in a drowsy driving crash when he was just 24.

“He fell asleep at the wheel on a Monday night after the clock change while driving back to his school,” Berkowitz said.  “Drivers should be aware they may be more tired than usual in the days following the time change, which can disrupt our sleep patterns. What happened to my brother Jim could have happened to anyone.”

FoxRock Properties Acquires Crown Colony Building

FoxRock Properties has acquired the office building at 1200 Crown Colony Drive in Quincy. Photo Courtesy Flaunt Boston.

FoxRock Properties, a real estate investment, development, and management firm, on Thursday announced its acquisition of Quincy’s premier office building at 1200 Crown Colony Drive. The 236,491 square foot building is in the highly visible and centrally located Crown Colony Office Park, just a half mile from the Quincy Adams T stop and adjacent to the I-93 and Route 3 interchange.

“We think this is an opportunity to own a best-in-class property in a best-in-class city,” says FoxRock owner Rob Hale. “We’re seeing an influx of organizations that are attracted to the value proposition of being based in Quincy, and growing in Quincy. We are very bullish about the business community and workforce in the city.”

FoxRock has already secured leases, and tenants will be made public in the near future.

With a portfolio of 5 million square feet, FoxRock has maintained high occupancy and retention rates in their office buildings through high touch service and top-of-the-line amenities such as game rooms, golf simulators, and flexible work suites.

“This building is going to be a showpiece for best-in-class amenities and tenant offerings,” says Jason Ward, Managing Director at FoxRock “There will be concerts, happy hours, food truck events, fitness and wellness classes. We look forward to delivering an unmatched offering for tenants who want to be competitive in the fight for talent.”

The amenities at 1200 Crown Colony Drive combined with the building’s proximity to public transportation and highways makes it an ideal location for employers looking to attract and retain top talent. Highlights include: a landscaped patio with soft seating and gas firepits, a renovated atrium lobby with coffee bar, a new full-service café, a 2,950 square foot state-of-the-art fitness center, an expansive fireplace lounge, outdoor exercise lawn and ample parking.

Biden, Trump Primary Winners In Quincy

By SCOTT JACKSON

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump won big on Super Tuesday – both in Quincy and elsewhere – all but guaranteeing a rematch between the two in the fall.

Biden received 6,364 votes in Quincy in the March 5 Democratic primary, 74.65 percent of all votes cast, and was the top vote getter in each of the city’s six wards. “No preference” garnered the second most votes, 1,031, followed by Cong. Dean Phillips (536 votes) and author Marianne Williamson (338 votes).

Biden won the Massachusetts primary with 82.8 percent of vote; “no preference” was runner up with 9.4 percent of the vote. Biden was the winner of in every contest held on March 5, except for the American Samoa primary, where he finished behind entrepreneur Jason Palmer. Phillips withdrew from the race on Wednesday afternoon.

Trump received 4,388 votes in Quincy in the Republican primary, 67.56 percent of all votes cast, and polled the most votes in all six wards. Nikki Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, was runner up with 1,901 votes. “No preference” was a distant third with 75 votes. The remaining votes were split between candidates who withdrew from the race prior to the primary: Chris Christie (48 votes), Ron DeSantis (27), Vivek Ramaswamy (24), Ryan Binkley (9) and Asa Hutchinson (4).

Trump won the Massachusetts primary with 60 percent of the vote while Haley received 36.7 percent of the vote. Trump was the winner in every primary held on March 5, save for Vermont, which Haley won. Haley withdraw from the race on Wednesday morning.

In the Libertarian primary, “no preference” polled the most votes in Quincy, 44. Chase Oliver received 21 votes, Jacob Hornberger got 14, Michael Rectenwald polled 10 votes, Michael Ter Matt received four votes, and Lars Mapstead finished with two. Statewide results for the primary were not available Wednesday morning.

The only other contests on Tuesday’s ballots were for the Republican state committee man and woman for the Norfolk & Plymouth District, which includes all of Quincy and extends to several other communities.

In the committee man race in Quincy, Alexander Hagerty outpolled Gary Innes, 2,651 votes to 2,196. Hagerty also outpolled Innes in Braintree, 401 to 312, and in Holbrook, 676 to 210. In Hanover, Innes outpolled Hagerty, 1,640 to 412. Results for Abington and Rockland were not available as of noontime on Wednesday.

In the committee woman race in Quincy, Beth Veneto outpolled Edith Hughes, 3,263 votes to 1,976. Veneto also outpolled Hughes in Braintree, 421 to 284, and in Hanover, 1,175 to 666. In Holbrook, Hughes outpolled Veneto, 417 to 411.

Joel Buenaventura and Sandra Merrick were unopposed in the race for the Democratic state committee man and woman seats for the same district. Buenaventura polled 6,243 votes in Quincy and Merrick garnered 6,422.

Turnout in Quincy for the primary was 23.52 percent, with 15,314 of the city’s 65,120 registered voters casting ballots.

Arrest Made In Wollaston Shooting

By SCOTT JACKSON

Quincy police have arrested a Lowell man in connection with a shooting that left a man with non-life-threatening injuries.

The Lowell man, who police did not identify by name on Saturday, is facing charges of armed assault with intent to murder, possession of ammunition without a firearms identification card, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building or dwelling, illegal possession of ammunition, possession with intent to distribute a class A substance, and possession with intent to distribute a class B substance. The suspect is due to be arraigned Tuesday in Quincy District Court on those charges.

Quincy police were called to the area of Elm Avenue and Marlboro Street in the Wollaston section of the city just after 3 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 16, for a reported shooting. The victim was taken to a Boston hospital for non-life-threatening injuries. The suspect was arrested that same evening.

“I would like to commend the outstanding work of the department’s patrol and detective units in making a quick arrest and also let residents in the Wollaston neighborhood of Quincy know that this was an isolated incident and there is no ongoing threat to the public,” Police Chief Mark Kennedy said in a statement.

Any witnesses with additional information regarding the incident are asked to contact the department’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation at 617-479-1212.

Driver Extricated From Vehicle Following Quincy Center Crash

By SCOTT JACKSON

A 62-year-old Quincy resident sustained non-life-threatening injuries after being entrapped in their SUV during a single-vehicle crash in Quincy Center on Tuesday afternoon.

The crash took place at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in the vicinity of 1250 Hancock St., police said in a statement. The SUV, driven by the 62-year-old Quincy resident, had been traveling southbound on Hancock Street when it traveled over the curb and struck a traffic light pole near the Hancock Adams Common.

The driver of the vehicle was entrapped in the car as a result of the crash, police said, and had to be extricated by Quincy firefighters. The driver was then transported to Boston Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries. No further update was available on the driver’s condition.

No pedestrians were injured as a result of the crash.

The crash is under investigation by the Quincy Police Department’s traffic unit and no citation had been issued as of late Tuesday.

$600,000 Approved For Quincy 400

By SCOTT JACKSON

Quincy city councillors on Monday approved an appropriation of $600,000 to cover costs associated with the Quincy 400 initiative, which will celebrate the quadricentennial of the city’s 1625 settlement next year.

“The goal of this exercise is to provide the seed money where we will have some ability over the next couple of months to come up with a rough schedule or calendar, the detailed breakdown of all the programs we’re going to do,” said Chris Walker, the chief of staff to Mayor Thomas Koch.

“This is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and we’re going to do everything we can to make this a memorable experience for the city.”

Councillors approved the appropriation in an 8-0 vote on Monday; Ward 1 Councillor David McCarthy was not present at Monday’s meeting.

The $600,000 will come from the city’s hotel/motel tax receipts, a tax charged to visitors who stay in one of Quincy’s hotels or motels. Eric Mason, the city’s director of municipal finance, said there was $2.7 million in that account prior to the council vote. Mason anticipates the city will collect an additional $1.2 million in hotel/motel taxes in the third and fourth quarters of fiscal year 2024, which ends on June 30, and $1.3 million in the first two quarters of fiscal year 2025, which begins July 1.

The total costs of the Quincy 400 initiative are expected to be higher than $600,000, Walker wrote in a memo to city councillors. The city hopes to get outside funding for the initiative, he said, and having the initial funding in place will make that easier.

“What’s before the body is essentially seed money to get the ball rolling on planning and certain specific activities that have been discussed to date,” he said in the memo. “We fully anticipate that that the costs associated with the celebrations befitting the significance of this anniversary will be greater than what’s before you – but the goal is use this initial funding to leverage private donations via outside groups and sponsorship dollars in the coming months.”

The $600,000 will also allow the city to “get to a firm final plan, a full calendar, and the schedule and timing of projects associated with the anniversary celebration,” Walker wrote, and the administration is hopeful that information could be shared with the City Council before the body recesses for the summer at the end of June.

The memo also included a rough estimate of how the $600,000 would be spent.

Half of the funds, $300,000, will be for programming. That could include a major concert or concerts; a lecture series featuring notable Quincy residents or others with ties to the city; educational programming within the Quincy Public Schools; museum exhibits; expansion of existing events, like Lunar New Years and the Flag Day and Christmas parades; and “the telling of our immigrant story.”

The second largest item, $100,000, would be for personnel/contractual. That could include project management, outside firms to assist in major bookings, and an outside firm to assist in corporate sponsorships.

The budget also includes $80,000 for marketing – promotional materials, branding and souvenirs – and $20,000 for a website. Also included in the budget is $50,000 each for a heritage tree program and an historic signage program.

While the memo included those estimates, Walker said they are subject to change.

“Please note that the funding is flexible,” he wrote in the memo. “The Council is being asked to appropriate the bottom line total of $600,000, not the individual budget buckets. The funding would be interchangeable as specific plans take shape.

“Many of the ideas below came from community discussions and internal planning over the last several years, and we certainly hope you will continue share your ideas with us in the lead up to the new year.”

Person Rescued From Fore River Channel

By SCOTT JACKSON

A person was rescued after reportedly jumping from the Fore River Bridge Saturday afternoon, police said.

The Quincy Police Department received multiple 911 calls around 3:45 p.m. on Saturday reporting a person had jumped from the Fore River Bridge into the Fore River Channel below, the department said in a statement.

The department’s marine unit located a person in the water near the bridge’s fender system, the department said. The person was taken aboard the Quincy police boat Guardian and was given immediate medical attention. The police boat was able to transfer the person to a nearby dock, where Brewster EMS treated the person before transporting them to Boston Medical Center. Police did not provide an update on the person’s condition.

The water temperature at the time of Saturday’s incident was approximately 38 degrees, police said.

The Quincy Fire Department, Braintree Police Department, State Police and Coast Guard all responded to the incident on Saturday, Quincy police said.

Search Underway For Quincy High Football Coach; Ford No Longer Acting Coach

By SCOTT JACKSON

Quincy High School Principal Keith Ford on Tuesday announced he would no longer serve as the acting football coach for the school’s football team.

Ford announced he would be stepping away from the position of acting head coach days after being named to the post.

“On Friday, January 26, 2024, after collaborative discussions with our Superintendent and Athletic Director, I was appointed Acting Head Football Coach,” Ford said in a letter to the Quincy High community. “This decision was made to provide consistency with our students in the interest of a full off season workout plan. It is my practice to move full steam ahead in making sure that all aspects of the assignments I’m given line up with my core values which are hard work, dedication, and commitment.

“My intent was to get the ball rolling as quickly as possible with supporting our student athletes both academically and athletically as we gear up for the 2024 football season. However, it appears the impact of this decision is resoundingly unsupported by the community. Therefore, I will continue to be a man of integrity and lead this school community as Principal the best way I possibly can. I do not want to be a distraction to this process so I am stepping down as Acting Head Coach. The coaching position has been posted and we will allow this process to continue in the manner it was intended to.”

Kevin Mahoney, the athletic director for the Quincy Public Schools, on Jan. 26 had announced Ford would be serving as the acting head coach for Quincy High following the departure of Vernon Crawford after one season. A former linebacker for the New England Patriots, Crawford had been hired as the school’s head football coach in February 2023. The team finished the 2023 season with a record of 3-8.

Ford played college football at the University of Maine and Northeastern, and has previous experience coaching at the high school level.

The vacant head coaching position was posted Tuesday on the Quincy Public Schools website and can be view online at SchoolSpring.com. Candidates have until Feb. 14 to apply for the position.