City putting together Blue Hill Avenue advisory group

By 
Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Jun. 5, 2013

The city agency tasked with planning and economic development is setting up an advisory group for improving the Blue Hill Avenue and Cummins Highway area, which is plagued by blighted properties, that will work with the Boston Redevelopment Authority and other city agencies to come up with development guidelines for the properties.

The group, which will have eight to twelve members appointed by Mayor Thomas Menino, is part of a larger effort to plan out the future of the Fairmount corridor.

Jeremy Rosenberger, a project manager with the BRA, said the panel will be seeking to build on the momentum of the Mattapan Community Health Center, which opened last year, and the state Department of Recreation’s intention to move toward the completion of the Neponset Greenway trail, which runs through Mattapan. The state has also spent $200 million on train stations along the Fairmount Line. The Cecil Group, an urban design and planning firm, has been tapped to consult on the project.

The corridor has a young and diverse population, as well as a large number of small businesses, but also a high level of poverty and low household income. Thirty-six percent of all “distressed” properties in Boston are along the corridor, according to a presentation available on the planning initiative’s website.

“Removing that blight will be a big deal,” said Rosenberger.

The process for the “Blue Hill Ave./Cummins Hwy Improvement Plan” is expected to take six to eight months, with regular meetings in Mattapan. “We want a good mix of businesspeople, residents, make Mattapan better and improve connections to public transit,” Rosenberger said. Nominations were due on June 3, but he said the agency remains flexible, and hopes to have the members picked by July 4.

The corridor-wide working group will meet next on Tues., June 11, at the Kroc Center at 650 Dudley St. at 6:30 p.m. A working group focused on Uphams Corner will meet at the same time and same location on Wed., June 19.

More information is available at fairmountindigoplanning.org.