City gets input on re-use of former Mattapan Library

By 
Tayla Holman, Special to the Reporter
Dec. 6, 2012

The Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services and the Department of Neighborhood Development held a joint meeting Tuesday to get community input for the possible re-usesof the former Mattapan Library building at 10 Hazleton Street. The library closed in 2009, after serving the community for over 75 years, when a new branch was built at 1350 Blue Hill Avenue.

Tuesday’s gathering was described as a first preliminary meeting to discuss the disposition process so residents would know what steps have to be taken before a new tenant moves into the location. Since the building is in a residential area, and has a very small driveway, residents said they didn’t want something there that would require people to have to park.

Several residents believed the building — which sits on a 13,700 square foot lot— should be turned into a senior center or an adult day center. David Haynes, who lives on Hazleton Street, thought it would be a good idea to make into a computer training center for adults.

Joyce White, who has lived next to the library for 41 years, also said she would to see the building turned into a senior center. She said she wanted something “calm and serene” to replace the library because she had had problems in the past with teenagers hanging out in her yard thinking it was part of the library.

“I had to have a fence built because they kept coming in,” she said.

While some residents were adamant about not wanting the building to house any sort of teen services, Karleen Porcena, lead organizer of Mattapan United, said ABCD currently has a lease on the property and would like to continue the teen programming that it has been holding at the library.

Naeemah Fuller, who is with Empowerment Christian Church, also thought having the building become a youth center would be beneficial.

“We hosted a teen café [at Chez Vous] for months without incident,” Fuller said. “The same thing can happen here, it just depends on who you have doing the programming.”

She also said that teens often can’t afford the fees that are associated with certain centers.

Another Hazleton Street resident, Sandy Zamor-Calixte, said she didn’t think it made sense to open another teen center when there are already several, including the Mildred Avenue Community Center.

“I would like to do some kind of outreach for what is already out there,” she said. “[If there is a youth center] who is going to supervise these kids? It’s just chaos.”

A few residents thought the building should be turned into residences, but the layout of the building would likely make it hard to accommodate apartments or rooms.

Project manager Chris Rooney said the Department of Neighborhood Development would go over the feedback and then try to get back to the community about another meeting after the holidays. He also said that once former proposals are made, the person or organization with the highest rated proposal would present it in front of the community. He also reminded residents that no projects would be accepted without the community’s approval.