Letters to the editor


‘Shuttered Island’

As I viewed the Boston Herald’s ( Aug. 24)  frontpage (“Shuttered Island – A solution to Mass & Cass exists…it just needs a bridge,” I appreciated the Boston Herald’s photo showcase of what exactly is out on this mothballed island. The photos weren’t pretty. Mayor Wu actually believes that these 11 buildings at the old chronic hospital site could be retrofitted to house a new recovery campus in four years.

Dr. Bisola Ojikuto, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission says, “What we are looking for is to create something that’s truly synergistic with what is available on the mainland.” The mayor added the city is envisioning the new campus as less of an overnight emergency shelter and more of a comprehensive campus that  serves the needs of its patients.

Everything always sounds good on paper. Who doesn’t love using the term “synergistic?” However, a new bridge is estimated to cost more than $100 million. The city, according to the mayor, stated $40 million has been appropriated to stabilize the island’s buildings in the city budget. She actually believes construction would start in the spring. There is no way that $40 million will come close to the mark in rehabbing that infrastructure which has been rotting away for a lot longer than 2014 when the old bridge to Quincy had to be closed and demolished

I was last on this island as a police officer for the state Department of Mental Health when I escorted a DMH client to a program out on the island over 13 years ago. It was a deplorable site. Most of these buildings were constructed during the administrations of both Mayors James Michael Curley and Maurice Tobin. The real price tag is no way near $40 million and I believe the rehabbing project could be upwards of perhaps $80 million.

Looking at the photo looking out the window of one of the still-standing buildings and seeing the Boston skyline beyond the waters of Boston Harbor is a view I still remember back when I was about 5 years old. My family often visited the hospital where my dad’s stepfather was a patient. The bridge that was razed several years ago,hadn’t even been constructed then. We needed to take the Long Island ferry on one of the wharfs in the North End off Atlantic Avenue.

If the city sees Long island as the solution to Boston’s opioid epidemic/ crisis, it is indeed years away and just another load of hogwash. The best metaphor of all was the photo printed of an old Irish saying, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

We need to deal with the opioid epidemic that is destroying so many folks but moving them around like chess pieces is not the answer. There is always an answer to a problem, we just have to find it rather than just throwing Band-Aids on it. Long Island is just the latest spin. A new bridge is the least of our problems.

Sal Giarratani

East Boston


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