Meeting on Monday to take up new ‘free-standing’ BCYF facility in Dorchester

The city will kick off what looks to be a long process to find the proper site for a new, free-standing community center somewhere in Dorchester. The Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services, along with the Boston Centers for Youth and Families (BCYF) and the Public Facilities Department, will host an online public meeting next Monday.

“The topics to be discussed include introducing the study team, discussing study goals, identifying potential site(s) for a new stand-alone community center in Dorchester, and gathering feedback from the community on desired programs and facilities,” read a statement from BCYF about the meeting.

Most BCYF facilities are tied to a school building or some other city building, such as at the Lee School or the Murphy School. The upcoming process will determine a location and a menu of programming for a facility that isn’t tied to any existing building – likely introducing a new resource for young people in Dorchester.

Earlier this year, the Reporter featured a story from Grove Hall’s Project RIGHT advocates, who have long called for a standalone community center on a vacant parcel of land behind the Jeremiah Burke High School. At that time, leaders of BCYF indicated that there would be a process to study and look at a stand-alone community center in Dorchester, and next week’s meeting will be the beginning of that.

Councillor Andrea Campbell’s office said they have been working behind the scenes with BCYF for some time on the idea and believe that BCYF should look seriously at the Grove Hall neighborhood for any such center.

“Grove Hall residents have for years been advocating for increased youth programming and dedicated space in community to support positive youth development and violence prevention efforts,” read the statement from Councillor Campbell. “While these programs continue to be under-resourced in the City despite a large need, I encourage BCYF to meaningfully respond and incorporate these long-standing needs and advocacy of Grove Hall and their youth in this engagement process.

The city will be releasing flyers in Spanish, Vietnamese, Haitian Creole, and Cape Verdean Creole in the coming days. Residents will need to register for the meeting and request translation if necessary, beforehand. The link to register for the meeting is https://forms.gle/xcbCJHuwhwPXbuvT6.

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