Eve of construction


downtown_work010416If you’ve ventured anywhere near downtown Wakefield area in the last few months, perhaps you’ve noticed that there are some trucks and heavy equipment digging up the streets.

If you haven’t been napping somewhere with Rip van Winkle, you may have even heard about the coming $20 million Brightview Senior Living complex. Perhaps you even read in the Wakefield Daily Item as early as January 2015 that Brightview would begin by spending over a million dollars on improvements to the gas, electrical, water and sewer infrastructure in the downtown business district that otherwise the town would have had to pay for.

Those corporate bastards!

It’s a basic law of physics that two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time, so last week crews also started demolishing the firetraps – I mean houses – on the west side of Crescent Street, where the front of the new Senior Living complex will face.

crescent_demolitionThe demolition process was met with predictable howls of protest from our local demolition experts at the WCL, which does not stand for the Wakefield Construction Laborers. If you took Civic Leaguers at their word last summer when they repeatedly swore that they were “moving on” after the Zoning Board of Appeals approved the Brightview project, then you haven’t been paying attention.

We now hear tales of families fleeing their homes on Crescent Street as clouds of dust not seen since Oklahoma in the 1930s swept through their neighborhood. (Evidently, on Crescent Street they keep their windows open in January.)

There were claims that the demolition crews had not done the proper dust mitigation by spraying down the site with water to hold the dust down, which brings us to another law of physics.

A funny thing happens to water when the temperature drops below 32 degrees. It freezes and turns nearby streets, sidewalks and parking lots into skating rinks. If that had happened, do you think the Civic League would have complained? I think we know the answer.


For over a year we were assured by certain people that they were not against assisted living in Wakefield, even though many of them signed a petition to get rid of the Assisted Living Overlay District.

No, they just wanted the 90-unit facility that was originally “promised.” Apparently, preconstruction demolition for 90-unit buildings does not raise any dust.

If only we had known.

Get used to it, folks. The fun’s just beginning. It’s going to be a long 20-month construction period.

[This column originally appeared in the January 21, 2016 Wakefield Daily Item.]

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