Last Saturday marked the official opening of Dudley Village, the Dorchester Bay EDCâ€™s new mixed use development with 50 affordable housing units and four commercial spaces at 580 Dudley Street. Mayor Menino led a group of neighborhood residents, elected officials, and funders who joined in with Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation to celebrate the occasion.
The Village was built on the site of the Fundonzhino Lounge, a once important gathering site for the Cape Verdean community that had slowly deteriorated in the 1990â€™s and become a magnet for violence and criminal activity. The city invested $2M in this project and also assisted in the assembly of solar panels that will save energy costs for this project. â€œToday we celebrate because we have transformed these parcels into homes for our residents. By working together we have given families a beautiful place to call home. Thatâ€™s something we all can be proud ofâ€ said Menino.
Welcoming the mayor were Makeila Layne, a member of Youth Force, Dorchester Bayâ€™s teen organizing group who thanked him for helping to provide after school teen jobs in Uphams Corner; Jeanne DuBois, Executive Director of Dorchester Bay Economic Development Corporation; Julio Henriquez of Dudley Neighbors Inc. Community Land Trust.
â€œYears ago this neighborhood had fallen on hard times. Now it has passed the tipping point, it has become an urban village we are now proud to live in,â€ said Bob Van Meter of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, an early key financial supporter of the project said, â€œDudley Village is part of a strategy around transit-oriented development and part of a broader revitalization of the area.â€
At the end of the ceremony, DuBois unveiled a plaque dedicating the outdoor green spaces and playground to Jasenka Diminic, the former Director of Real Estate Development for Dorchester Bay who passed away in 2005. Her two daughters were on hand for the unveiling and expressed their appreciation for this remembrance of their mother.