April 30, 2020 HBI’s Work Continues through the COVID-19
The Covid-19 pandemic will have long-term effects and change our lives, but Boston has an enduring history of resiliency through crises and pandemics over centuries. Our city’s age-old ability to find strength in our community, to adapt, and to move forward underpins our 21st century response to a new challenge.
We hope that our friends and partners are safe and healthy, and we extend good wishes to all those affected by the Coronavirus, and heartfelt condolences to those who have lost loved ones. We are thinking about you as our community navigates the new world in which we find ourselves.
Despite the challenges of this moment, Historic Boston’s work continues while we also respond to the impacts of the Covid-19 isolation and social distancing .
- With the assistance of a Federal Paycheck Protection Program loan obtained through Eastern Bank , HBI retains all staff, and we are working from home, carrying on connection to each other, our work partners and our board of directors through regular teleconferencing and calls. We miss being in Nubian Square, but check in at the Eustis Street Fire House weekly, and stay in touch with our neighbors.
- Despite our best efforts, the effects of Covid-19’s economic impacts pose a great challenge to our small non profit organization. Most of the retail and office tenants at the Old Corner Bookstore have temporarily closed in response to social distancing requirements and the interim loss of downtown office workers. We are working collaboratively with each of those enterprises on strategies to get them and us through this marked downturn . The same extends to our neighborhood properties where business owners and residents have seen similar restrictions on their incomes.
- A task force of our board of directors is working with staff to formulate HBI’s response to revenue losses in this period of time. We are fortunate to have their wisdom and guidance, and rainy day reserves that will help us endure. However, we are reforecasting the year’s operating budget and tightening our belts to face the month ahead.
- We’re very grateful to HBI’s entire Board of Directors , under the leadership of President Kathy MacNeil, for their engagement and support through this period. They continue to meet together and in committee through teleconferencing. We recently held our regularly scheduled quarterly board meeting and re-elected Vice-President Barbara Boylan and Clerk Michael Durand to new terms, and elected attorney and Roxbury resident Sammy Nabulsi as a new member of the board.
HBI is keeping focused on its mission and our projects, with a cautious eye to the marketplace and conditions for the resumption of construction:
- We remain focused on two HBI-owned properties: completing the Upham’s Corner Comfort Station in Dorchester for Comfort Kitchen, and continuing development planning at St. James African Orthodox Church in Roxbury. We also continue to offer technical assistance to the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts on Ionic Hall and St. Luke’s Chapel in Roxbury.
- HBI’s proposals to the City and State for redevelopment of the Owen Nawn Factory in Roxbury, the David Dudley House in Roxbury, and the Calf Pasture Pumping Station at Columbia Point are all, as yet, undetermined. If HBI and its partners are designated to develop any of those properties in 2020, we will re-calibrate timelines and project plans in accordance with organizational capacity and any changes in market conditions.
For the foreseeable future, HBI will proceed cautiously and steadily with the aim of keeping operations moving so that our current project portfolio – and our mission – stay on track.
HBI’s work is all about keeping our city strong; we thank you for your continued interest and support. Please be in touch if you have thoughts or ideas for us. We’d love to hear from you.