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Fenway demolition takes down more than just a building

Remains of a Hemenway apartment building being torn down

Yesterday, Tony G. watched crews demolish what was left of 104 Hemenway St., the scene of a 7-alarm fire last fall.

And then he looked closer, and noticed it wasn't just beams and ceilings and walls coming down - it was reminders of the lives lived there before the fire, from an air conditioner still mounted in a window, to coffee makers, dishes and food cans in kitchens:

Ruined kitchens
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Comments

Burned out buildings are depressing, especially if the building is condemned after a fire and people aren't allowed to get in to get their things. It's sad.

Sure people's lives are more important.. but I can understand the loss of something priceless. I have my mom's ashes and a few pictures of her that I would collapse if I ever lost.

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Voting closed 40

Had a friend whose building sustained just enough smoke and water damage to be unlivable, even though his bedroom was completely unscathed, and he was forced to leave everything behind - even undamaged, sentimental items.

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The previous owners of those things didn't want to take them even if they were able to get in to salvage more important items. Most kitchen items aren't going to be usable if they came in contact with fire soot.

Hopefully they were able to take any sentimental or valuable items.

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So it is strange to see the building like that. Brings home that people lived there and they lost all sorts of things, both minor and major, Seems rather a raw and callous way to move on, but that seems to be the M.O. here.

The handling of the building after the fire has been a huge pain in the ass for the neighborhood, especially Symphony Rd. The City and the owner didn't give much (if any) notice to the neighborhood that Hemenway would be closed and that the building would be torn down. Before that they haven't provided any safe access to walk by on Hemenway (and until the teardown there was no crosswalk). We've lost access to one end of our alley because of the scaffolding on the back of the building forcing us to drive up Westland Ave to get into our alley. There's also construction of a new condo building halfway up Symphony which has furthered screwed things up.

We're willing to bear it but it would help if the City and the Building Owner consulted or met with the neighborhood to let us know what to expect and when and put workarounds in place for the duration.

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I wrote to the building owner, the management company, the contractor, the mayor, the city council, asking that they improve their communication to the area neighborhood. All I got back were crickets. The only way I can get info is to walk up to one of the folks working on the demolition and asking them "so how long will this road closure be in place? Two days ago they said Saturday, this morning, they told me Monday.... At least they give me data which is more than I can say for the city, owner, or city council.

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As a constituent I've learned that my representatives ignore my individual concerns unless they an easy ones (like making a phone call to ISD to get them off their butts). But a larger issue is that your representatives don't give a flying fig about your concerns - unless you can help them realize that there are lots of votes at risk.

It's unfortunate that our local elected officials are worthless where it concerns individual concerns. Perhaps if you had donated to their campaign you might get some attention. But legislators: They want all the ego stroking attention they can suck up; but when it comes to constituent services that is purely transactional. You have to pay to play, whether the payment is in money or lots of votes.

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They get away with this because of voter apathy, media collusion, and general tendency to run unopposed because no one bothers to challenge the status quo.

Incumbents already have a machine voter patronage base guaranteed to show up. Anyone running as a challenger has to overcome that machine with motivated voters. Motivated voters are in short supply. City wide turnout outside of the neighborhoods owned by the public service employee and construction unions is abysmal.

I'd hate to think of what would happen with ballot harvesting. Probably get 99% turnout in the heavy voting neighborhoods already while the rest of the city struggles to break 20%.

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So, who are the elected representatives of this Fenway neighborhood? City councillor, I guess, would be most relevant?

As a former 17-year resident of Mission Hill, I wonder if the college student-heavy areas - like this part of Fenway - get less attention because they contain fewer locally-registered voters.

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