Walczak urges Harvard to delay master plan for Allston

Mayoral candidate Bill Walczak is urging Harvard University to delay its institutional master plan for the Allston neighborhood.

In a recent letter to the university, Walczak asked Harvard President Drew Faust to extend the university’s timetable for the plan, so the next mayor can have input about future development in Allston. The Boston Redevelopment Authority is considering the plan and must approve it.

“This significantly scaled back plan risks missing an opportunity not only to address some of Allston’s commercial needs but also to solidify Boston’s role in creating the 21st Century economy,” Walczak wrote in the letter.

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Walczak’s campaign said the candidate wrote the letter after he had a series of conversations with Allston residents about the vast differences between the plan Harvard presented to the community in 2007 and the one submitted to the BRA this year.

The latest plan includes nine projects over the next decade totaling 1.4 million square feet of development, including a new basketball facility, an addition to Harvard Stadium, several academic buildings, and a hotel and conference center at Western Avenue and North Harvard Street, also known as Barry’s Corner.

“Harvard’s plan represents a major change for this community, and I want to make sure that there is a thoughtful process in place so the residents of Allston can participate in deciding its future,” Walczak said. “We cannot be a world-class city when private interests alone are deciding the future of our neighborhoods. Community involvement in master planning is essential for every Boston neighborhood.”