Mattapan meeting targeted Haitian Kreyol speakers

Mattapan residents who speak Haitian Kreyol received an update on a city of Boston planning process in their own language last Thursday evening (May 23) at the Mildred Avenue Community Center. The meeting, hosted by the Boston Planning & Development Authority (BPDA), focused on the PLAN: Mattapan initiative that was launched last October.

“We want to make sure every voice is being heard,” said Muge Undemir, a senior planner for the BPDA who is co-leading the PLAN:Mattapan effort. “It wouldn’t be a complete process if we didn’t have Haitian voices as part of it because they do comprise a large population of Mattapan.”

The planning effort, which has convened several public meetings since last October, will create “a comprehensive vision” and “guide future growth and investment.” It is the latest in a series of targeted planning initiatives that have already taken place in Jamaica Plain-Roxbury, South Boston and Dorchester.

According to a statement on the BPDA website, its focus will include “economic development (jobs and business) and the creation of transit-oriented market-rate and affordable housing growth while preserving the neighborhood’s character and unique attributes.”

“We want to make sure that residents understand that this is for them,” said Kenya Beaman, who works for the BPDA. “Mattapan’s growing. Things are changing. Either you want to get involved and be a part of it, or you’re going to be left behind.”

Beaman says the agency plans to convene a Spanish language meeting as well.

“We want to make sure everyone is involved, so we will also be doing a Spanish version of this meeting to because there is a large population of Spanish speaking people as well,” she said.

“All of our meetings that we’ve had that are outside of this one, have been conducted in English with interpreters for Haitian Creole. We wanted to switch it up for this one to make it so that people felt more comfortable coming in to a space that they understood the language as opposed to just hearing English and having that get translated.”

Last Thursday, the BPDA provided interpreters who translated information presented in Haitian Kreyol to English.

For information future meetings, see bostonplans.org or email kenya.p.beaman@boston.gov.