Beantown toast

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Early in my career I was a general assignment reporter for the Hyde Park Herald on Chicago's South Side. Hyde Parkers, most of whom have some sort of relationship, either past or present, with that bastion of heavy-duty intellectualism, the University of Chicago (never "the U of C," always "the University"), can be a pain in the neck.

Nothing comes into Hyde Park without their collective say-so. Blockbuster video, which has never seen a retail strip it didn't like, nearly threw in the towel when it came to facing down the Hyde Park developmentsia. But for all their griping, meddling, whining and kvetching, development in Hyde Park, more often than not, is smart, attractive and adds value to the community.

So it is with a sensibility nurtured through hundreds of committee meetings at which nothing ever seemed to get decided that I applaud the residents of South Boston who worked with the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority on plans for Boston's new convention center.

The need for the facility has long been apparent. But fitting it into a residential neighborhood without sacrificing character, not to mention housing stock, must have been a great challenge. Hats off.

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