Fields Corner mall upgrade nearing completion

Upgrades to the façade and parking lot of the Fields Corner mall at Dorchester Avenue and Park Street may be completed early, according to managers, wrapping up next month, instead of the spring as originally planned. The Fields Corner Civic Association is now pressing the owners to sign a memorandum of understanding that would outline ongoing maintenance of the property.

According to Tim Russell, an architect for the project, the parking lot will be paved with asphalt next week and new lighting will be installed on Dec. 10. Russell and Tom Cifrino, who manages and co-owns the property, said all the work would be completed by the end of the year, with the exception of the Capitol Market façade near Geneva Avenue. Capitol Market is trying to transfer a long-term lease to another supermarket, and until that happens "we can't touch anything over there," said Russell.

Aside from a few details, such as replacing a dumpster fence, relocating a particular tree and a new proposal for a water kiosk at Geneva and Park, Fields Corner Civic pressed the mall's owners for promises on maintenance.

Asked if they had a plan in place for snow removal on the sidewalks that surround the property, Russell said, "We haven't talked about that." Both Russell and Cifrino seemed to be unaware of the law concerning snow removal by property owners.

"All due respect," said FCCA president Tom Gannon, "you guys need to have a plan in place. It's the same quarter mile [of sidewalks] they've owned for 40 years."

"I'm concerned about the liability of having our contractors working on the public sidewalk," said Russell.

"There's more liability if you don't remove the snow," said one of the 20 or so residents present. "It's the law."

In addition to snow removal, the memorandum also detailed adding 15 trash cans to the parking lot to collect trash, removing all graffiti within 24 hours, and sweeping trash out of the parking lot daily.

"The reason we took the trash barrels out 15 years ago is because at night, the kids would set them on fire," said Cifrino. "That was a problem."

"People still throw their trash everywhere," said Evelyn Darling of Fields Corner Main Streets. "It really needs to be cleaned up. We really want landlords to clean up their trash on a daily basis."

Russell indicated that he didn't see any major problems with the demands, and Cifrino, after the meeting said, "I never sign anything without showing it to a lawyer first."