Mayor: Maxwell site should be used for "transit oriented development"

A spokesperson for Mayor Tom Menino today said that the mayor believes that a key city-owned parcel along the Fairmount Line in Uphams Corner should be redeveloped as a "transit oriented development"— a strong indication that the city will put the brakes on an emerging plan to turn the site into a warehouse for city street lights.

Last week, the Reporter reported that Uphams Corner activists were furious after they learned of a plan by the Department of Public Works (DPW) to turn the former Maxwell Boxing Company property into a storage yard for the city's street light division. The plan was triggered by an agreement between the city and the MBTA to relocate from the current street light division yard in Forest Hills.

Today, however, Mayor Menino's press secretary said that the Mayor has other plans for the site. Without specifically rejecting the street light warehouse idea, the mayor's spokesperson— Dorothy Joyce— said that the mayor wants to move in a different direction.

"The mayor has been briefed on the Maxwell property and he agrees that it's going to be a better site for transit-oriented redevelopment," Joyce told the Reporter. "He's considering doing an RFP (request for proposals) for possible developers [for the site]."

The shift will be welcome news to members of the mayorally-appointed Fairmount Line Working Advisory Group (WAG) for Uphams Corner— which issued a letter to Menino on Friday objecting to the DPW plan. The BRA-led advisory group has been working with consultants to map out possible re-uses of the Maxwell site for the last year-and-a-half. All of the possible scenarios included building a mix of housing and commercial or light industrial uses on the currently dormant site, which lies directly next to the Uphams Corner station on the Fairmount Line. None of the scenarios have envisioned the property's use as a city street light depot— an idea that emerged suddenly last Wednesday at a meeting of the Uphams Corner WAG.

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