Commentary: Getting people to work, but not work to people

Construction work wrapped up at Newmarket station last month: Not enough locals, minorities or women on the job, says one watchdog. Photo by Bill ForryConstruction work wrapped up at Newmarket station last month: Not enough locals, minorities or women on the job, says one watchdog. Photo by Bill ForryThe good news: After years of community advocacy, planning, and pushing, Dorchester neighborhoods now have easy rail access to downtown through the opening of three new stations on the MBTA Fairmount commuter rail line.

The bad news: The MBTA did not abide by local hiring standards for the construction work on the line. A victory for transit equity wrapped in a defeat for Boston’s workers. How did this happen?

Three new stations on the Fairmount Commuter Line — the Four Corners/Geneva Avenue station, the Talbot Avenue station and the Newmarket station —serve neighborhoods of the city that have been underserved by public transportation for decades.  Read more

(UPDATED) Forums, forums, forums

Looking to catch a mayoral candidate in action? A list of forums and debates taking place over the next two months, as the city edges closer towards the Sept. 24 preliminary, is available after the jump. The list is a work-in-progress: times and dates are subject to change, and there are forums and debates we've probably missed. If you want to submit a listing, email with the information.  Read more

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.  Read more

City plans to build warehouse on key Uphams Corner parcel

An aerial view of the Maxwell property- shaded in yellow- which sits directly next to Uphams Corner station on the Fairmount Line. City of Boston officials now plan to use the parcel as a storage yard for street poles. Image courtesy The Cecil Group

A newly-minted city of Boston plan to store street poles and bucket trucks on a three-acre property near Uphams Corner is coming under fire from some stakeholders, who say that the city-owned site next to the Fairmount commuter rail line should be used for housing instead.

The 120,000 square foot Maxwell site, dominated by a sprawling, empty cardboard box warehouse, was seized by the city of Boston more than two years ago after its former owner lost the land to foreclosure. The existing warehouse on East Cottage Street is in dilapidated condition and must be torn down to accommodate whatever use comes next.  Read more

Boston Sports Club to open in Adams Corner

Parking lot will be overhauled as part of project

Boston Sports Club has agreed in principle to a ten-year lease agreement that will make the health and fitness chain the main tenant in a prominent Adams Corner building. The fitness center will take over a 17,000 square foot space that has been vacated by Rite-AID, the chain drug store that closed its doors earlier this year.

The Cedar Grove Civic Association will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, August 6 to hear more details about the planned renovation of the building and the adjacent parking lot.  Read more

McCarthy, Dorchester native, to lead environmental agency

Andy Metzger, State House News Service
Jul. 19, 2013

Dorchester native Gina McCarthy will head up the federal agency charged with developing and enforcing environmental regulations. McCarthy had been one of the nominees tied up in the Senate, a logjam that was broken when Democratic leaders reportedly threatened to change Senate rules to make confirmations easier.

On Thursday, the Senate confirmed McCarthy to head up the Environmental Protection Agency by a vote of 59-40. Republicans on the Environment and Public Works Committee boycotted a committee vote in May on McCarthy’s nomination.  Read more

Rite-AID may seek liquor license on River St.

A pharmacy chain store in Lower Mills may seek to add beer, wine and liquor to its existing inventory of diapers, hair gel and band-aids— a proposition that is already getting some push-back from civic leaders.  Read more

Block party will mark latest addition to Mattapan Heights

Brianna Macgregor, Special to the Reporter
Jul. 18, 2013

The opening of the newest residential building in the Mattapan Heights campus will be celebrated with a block party planned for this Saturday, July 20. The new apartment building, containing 60 affordable housing units, is called Phase 5A. In late 2011, Trinity Financial Inc, the Boston-based development company that has been working on Mattapan Heights since 1999, received approximately $8.75 million in grants and loans towards the construction project. It was completed at the end of 2012, and is now fully occupied by tenants.  Read more

Shift in zoning regs likely to bring urban farming to Boston

Mike Deehan, Special to the Reporter
Jul. 18, 2013

Neighborhoods across the city could soon experience a surge in small farms and produce growers, as the Boston Redevelopment Authority approaches changes in how it regulates urban agriculture.  Read more

Bumper crop: Markets bring fresh goods, values to Dot and Mattapan

Brianna Macgregor, Special to the Reporter
Jul. 11, 2013

A visitor to the Ashmont-Peabody Square Farmers’ Market inspected the offerings from Spring Brooke Farms on a recent Friday afternoon. Photo by Lianne Ames

In a big city, fresh, nutritious food can be hard to come by. The farmers markets of Dorchester aim to solve that problem, providing locations for local farms to vend fresh produce and creating spaces for the community to gather.  Read more