Civics

Meeting on Nov. 1 will give Fields Corner community a look at Lucky Strike site plan

By 
Mike Deehan, Special to the Reporter
Oct. 20, 2010

Residents of Fields Corner will get their first look at a revamped proposal to develop the former site of the Lucky Strike bowling alley at Park and Adams streets on Mon., Nov. 1, when the project developers host a meeting for community members and abutters.

Former Fields Corner Civic Association president Hiep Chu will find himself on the other side of the issue at the meeting, having recently left his position with the association and joined the Lucky Strike development team as a paid consultant.  Read more

Lower Mills branch backers sense shift of ‘tone’ on closing

Supporters of the Lower Mills library are urging fellow activists to show up in force at a meeting at the branch tonight [at 6:30 p.m. at the Richmond Street branch] with Boston Public Library President Amy Ryan as a local lawmaker said there has been a “shift in ‘tone’” coming from City Hall about whether it will be closed.

At last Tuesday night’s meeting of the Lower Mills Civic Association, a representative from the mayor’s office said “re-use” of the building isn’t the focus of the Monday meeting.

Editorial: BPL board must reverse its decision to close branches  Read more

Mattahunt center in limbo; community bypassed, say critics

By 
Gintautas Dumcius and Bill Forry, Reporter Editors
Oct. 20, 2010

Mattahunt School and Community Center: City closed center last summer and a proposed partnership with Wheelock College has yet to begin.Mattahunt School and Community Center: City closed center last summer and a proposed partnership with Wheelock College has yet to begin.

(Editor's note: This article was updated online on Friday, Oct. 23 to reflect comments from Boys and Girls Club of Boston president Joshua Kraft.)

Eight months after the city of Boston began the process of closing some of the city’s 46 community centers, the Menino administration is still laboring to finalize a deal with Wheelock College to take over the former Mattahunt Community Center in Mattapan, which ceased operations as a city-run center last summer. The move is drawing criticism from community members and one of Mattapan’s city councillors, who are calling for more input and engagement with the broader community.

City officials and other supporters of the Wheelock deal say it will create a unique partnership that will expand programming at a time when the city is reeling from the effects of a weak economy and prepping for an even tighter budget next year. A deal can’t be brokered “overnight,” but an agreement will be announced in the coming weeks, they add.

“There’s a great opportunity with Wheelock,” said Daphne Griffin, executive director of the Boston Centers for Youth and Families, which oversees the city’s community centers. “Not only are they well-respected…but they have a very strong institutional program background around out of school time and after school time.”  Read more

Patrick signs $420m spending bill

From the folks at State House News Service:

Services for the disabled, the state's massive MassHealth budget and the State Police received funding infusions under a $420 million budget bill that Gov. Deval Patrick signed without fanfare Friday, shortly before attending a governor's candidate forum.

The bill, paid for through federal stimulus funds that won’t be available next fiscal year, deploys accounting methods aimed at putting nearly $200 million into a state rainy day fund that lawmakers and Gov. Deval Patrick have drained more than $1.5 billion from during the recession.

Two art installations set for ends of the town

By 
Chris Harding, Special to the Reporter
Oct. 14, 2010

Three-Decker sculptureThree-Decker sculptureIn the few weeks before the late October Dorchester Open Studios, two long-awaited pieces of permanent public art will finally be dedicated at opposite ends of town: “Dorchester Voices/Dorchester History” in Edward Everett Square and “Sleeping Moon” in Peabody Square. Together the pieces represent well over a third of a million dollars invested in the beautification and cultural enrichment of this neighborhood.

In 2007, Somerville sculptor Laura Baring-Gould installed her 11-and-a-half foot bronze version of Clapp’s Favorite Pear in Edward Everett Square with a $150,000 grant from the city’s Edward Ingersoll Browne Trust Fund.

Now three years later, she completes her design with a circle of smaller bronze pieces, averaging 36 inches in height (each on its own cast-iron pedestal), funded by a $60,000 community block grant. These smaller pieces were cast at the Asia Fine Art Foundry in Ayuthaya, Thailand, where the pear was cast.  Read more

Lower Mills Library decision will be harbinger of bigger things to come

One promise stood high from the Boston Public Library (BPL) management during last spring’s budget process: Cuts in personnel and branch closures would secure the stability – even the improvement – of library services citywide. We recently learned that this promise no longer holds true. Cuts in personnel that took effect this week will cause services and programs to be significantly reduced throughout Boston.

BPL President Amy Ryan acknowledged in two recent meetings (with the BPL Trustees and with the Friends of Libraries groups) that the system will be in “tremendous upheaval” with “adverse impacts” on services and programs. What, then, have the BPL system and the surviving branches gained from the decision to close the Lower Mills Library and other three neighborhood libraries in Boston? The answer is: Nothing!  Read more

Public health board approves Caritas sale

By 
State House News Service
Oct. 13, 2010

The state Public Health Council on Wednesday unanimously backed the sale of the non-profit Caritas Christi hospital chain to Steward Health Care System, a subsidiary of the major private equity firm, Cerberus Capital Management.

The proposed transfer of the six hospitals attracted a crowd of about 100 to a council meeting Wednesday morning.  Read more

Long road to market: neighbors get update on Dot Ave. project

By 
Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Oct. 13, 2010

The attorney representing the owner of 1188 Dorchester Ave. said this week the property is closer to becoming an “international” supermarket and could open by the end of the year. He defended the owner of the property, Khiet Tran, and said the cost of cleaning up the site, purchased in 2006 and found to be contaminated with chemicals, had skyrocketed to $500,000 and slowed down construction.

At a Tuesday night meeting of the Columbia Savin Hill Civic Association’s planning committee, attorney Kim Woongtae also cited bad weather and bureaucratic red tape as reasons for the construction delay. He also said that the site had been vandalized, with racially-tinged graffiti spray-painted onto some of the remaining windows.  Read more

'Working session' scheduled for Lower Mills library on Oct. 25

Boston Public Library officials have scheduled "working sessions" at each of the four libraries slated for closure. In Lower Mills, the community meeting is scheduled for Oct. 25, 6:30 p.m. at the branch library on Richmond St.

At the last similarly-structured meeting, held at Carney Hospital, neighborhood activists clashed with library officials.

The other dates and times in the other neighborhoods include:

Thursday, October 28, 6:30 – 7:30 pm at the Faneuil Branch, 419 Faneuil Street in Brighton.

Wednesday, November 10, 6:30 – 7:30 pm at the Washington Village Branch, 1226 Columbia Road in South Boston.

Thursday, November 18, 6:30 – 7:30 pm at the Orient Heights Branch, 18 Barnes Avenue in East Boston.

Full release after the jump:  Read more

Codman Square Health Center may purchase Dot Ave. building

By 
Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Oct. 7, 2010

The Codman Square Health Center is eyeing the ODWIN Learning Center’s Dorchester Ave. headquarters, officials with the health center said this week. The health center’s board of directors last week gave the go-ahead for the center, located in Peabody Square, to explore a purchase of the property.  Read more