CICD, Archdiocese break ground on third Mattapan collaboration at 150 River St. Village

Neighbors, elected officials, and development partners participated in the ceremonial groundbreaking for 150 River St. on June 12.

After five years of planning, the local development team of Caribbean Integration Community Development (CICD) and the Archdiocese of Boston’s Planning Office for Urban Affairs (POUA) broke ground on their third Mattapan project Wednesday, June 12, on River Street.

The 150 River Street Village project will be slightly different than the previous collaborations at Cote Village and Morton Station Village in that this project is slated for 30 units of mixed-income (30-70 percent of AMI) senior housing.

The project will also offer open space, a garden, and support services on a piece of land that was a former, but long-shuttered, nursing home. For the past decade it has been a vacant lot owned by the City of Boston.

On June 12, it was a celebration of filling that lot with housing and doing so in a cooperative way with the abutting neighbors and the larger community.

“This groundbreaking is an important milestone for the Mattapan community,” said CICD Director Donald Alexis. “These units will be for the benefit of our wise and older adults who will have this housing and support their needs and desires…These are folks who 40 years ago came here and bought homes and stayed here and made Mattapan what it is today – a vibrant community…Now it is our turn to be there for them and build housing that reflects their values and needs.”

While Cardinal Sean O’Malley was not able to attend due to being called to the Vatican for special meetings with Pope Francis, Bishop Peter Uglietto offered encouraging words and said they were excited to provide “safe, affordable housing for senior citizens” on this third collaboration.

Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll praised the project for its response to the housing crisis and said, “all these folks can’t afford to live in their community anymore.”

Abutting neighbors and the River Street Civic Association were also in attendance and played a major part in shaping the development in terms of community need, size, and scale.

Valerie Burton, president of River Street Civic, said the community is happy with the outcome, as senior affordable housing is in great need. She also said the construction crews are managing the issues well.

“After five long years working with the development team who respectfully included the direct abutters and the community every step of the way, I can honestly say in speaking on behalf of our community in Mattapan, which is in desperate need of affordable senior housing, we are very happy with the design.”

She added, “We appreciate the patience, commitment, and countless abutter meetings, both in-person and virtual, as well as the on-site ENI Superintendent, Cliff Wright, who addresses any issues the abutters may have. Additionally, we are grateful for the awesome website created to keep the community informed.”

Housing Chief Sheila Dillon noted that senior affordable housing is a major need in Boston’s neighborhoods like Mattapan. She said there are 82,000 older adults in the city and half of them rent their homes. Of that, more than 50 percent are rent burdened and make $40,000 or less per year.

“We’ve got another crisis with our older adults,” she said. “I want to thank you for seeing that and highlighting it.”

The project also got a special revived funding mechanism from the federal government, with HUD Regional Chief Sheila Galicki saying it is one of the first projects to benefit from the revived program (known as a 202 Grant).

“It is so amazing the program came back because it is so important to senior citizens and people with disabilities nationally,” she said.

The was concluded with a groundbreaking ceremony shared by officials and neighbors. Work has already begun on the building, with the foundation work having started earlier this spring.

Beverley Johnson, Paul Grogan of POUA, and Donald Alexis of CICD.

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