BRA-led group focuses on defunct car dealership in Mattapan

By 
David Eisenstadter, Special to the Reporter
Jan. 30, 2014

Mattapan is preparing for a new round of development spurred by a new MBTA commuter rail station at Blue Hill Avenue and Cummins Highway that is still in the design phase. But a Working Advisory Group put in place through the Boston Redevelopment Authority is already meeting to review plans and make sure residents of the community are heard in the process.

The Working Advisory Group (WAG) met on Monday and focused its time on preparing for a larger community meeting about the redevelopment of the former Cote Ford site at 820 Cummins Highway. A meeting to discuss the Cote Ford property will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 6 p.m. at the Mattapan Public Library at 1350 Blue Hill Avenue.

“There have been levels of contamination at the [Cote Ford] site and there has been some clean up done there,” said Corey Allen, a WAG member. “It has always been boarded up and always closed – not underused but unused – to the best of my knowledge for my entire lifetime.”

Allen, 30, said the contamination has diminished over time and that the site has a good chance of being developed as a part of this redevelopment process. He hopes to see a mixed-use building go into the site, with quality housing and quality businesses.

“Anything I would vote for I would have to seriously consider the wishes and desires of the people who live right next to it,” Allen said.

The advisory group, which is made up of 14 members, will provide feedback to the Boston Redevelopment Authority, which is overseeing the development of the area around the new Fairmount Line station. The MBTA station is scheduled to have its design completed by the end of 2014 and construction could begin as early as 2015,. Ideally, the Cote Ford site and other nearby properties can be developed concurrently with that project, according to Jeremy Rosenberger, a senior planner with the BRA.

The Cote Ford site is a large concrete building, a former car dealership, and had tested positive for oil contamination, Rosenberger said. He said that the latest testing revealed that the site was no longer contaminated.

“For better or worse, the oil contamination has either gone down stream or slowly broken up,” Rosenberger said. “It isn’t as significant.”

Rosenberger said some development ideas for the site include 100 units of housing or even a school, but more ideas will come out of the community meeting on Feb. 18.

Allen said on the subject of housing that those living in the Mattapan area had a high rent burden, and affordable and smaller size units would be important.

For more information on the Working Advisory Group and the Blue Hill Avenue and Cummins Highway project, visit fairmountindigoplanning.org.