The Rev. Dr. Nancy S. Taylor
Senior Minister & CEO
Old South Church in Boston
As the Senior Minister and CEO of Old South Church in Boston, I am pleased to join the conversation on the Massachusetts Department of Transportation blog and share my thoughts in correcting the picture painted in last week's newspaper article about the ongoing construction activities related to the renovations and accessibility of the Copley MBTA Station.
Old South Church was severely damaged on December 3, 2008 as a direct result of the construction. Since that time the MBTA and the MBTA's contractors and sub-contractors have worked closely and cooperatively with the Church and the Church's experts (geo-technical and structural engineers, restoration architects, stained glass consultants and organ conservator) to ensure that the Church does not sustain any further damage as a result of the on-going efforts to make the Copley T Station fully accessible. To this end, the jet-grouting process responsible for the damage was ended; the MBTA and its contractor installed an array of sophisticated monitoring instruments to sense any additional movement in our East Wall during renewed construction activities; we have investigated the current condition of the wall, foundation and timber piles; and the MBTA and its contractor have re-designed the current and future construction activities with the purpose of ensuring no further damage to the church.
During the construction process, the Church is maintaining a normal, busy schedule while routinely informing the MBTA and construction firm JFW of scheduled weddings, concerts, worship, and other activities. The MBTA and contractor are working very cooperatively around our needs.
In addition to working cooperatively together, I should note that costs we have incurred with respect to the damage to the church (stabilization, investigation, protection) have been borne more or less without complaint by the contractor's insurer.
We are working hard to achieve something quite special and exceedingly unusual by working cooperatively to right a wrong, to mend something that was broken. We feel strongly that public transportation and handicap-accessible stations are worthy endeavors.
Old South is as eager to see the newly renovated and accessible Copley T Station as we are eager to ensure that our building is not damaged any further in the process. We believe that with good will and good care, these two outcomes are not incompatible.