Upham's Corner Online

Excellent Turnout for Uphams Corner Main Street Annual Meeting 2012

Uphams Corner Main Street held their 2012 annual meeting at Paraiso Restaurant, 750 Dudley Street, on October 23. Hoping to attract business representatives before the businesses opened for the day, Main Street offered a light breakfast and an early start time (8AM).

Most of the crowd arrived before 8:15 when Nicholas Chernoff, the UCMS Board President, welcomed attendees and immediately encouraged everyone to a) get involved and b) join Main Street.  Throughout the meeting, people continued to arrive with a final count of just under 50. Excellent!


8:00-8:15 AM: Registration/Refreshments/Networking
8:15-8:25 AM: Welcome – Nicholas Chernoff (UCMS Board President)
8:25-9:05 AM: Speakers + Testimonials
  • Gregory Colon (Paraiso Restaurant)
  • Ines Palmarin (Boston Redevelopment Authority)
  • Para Jaysinghe (City of Boston Department of Public Works)
  • Camilo Pichardo (Discount Shoes Store)
  • Joan Tighe (UCMS Economic Restructuring Committee Chair)
9:05 – 9:20 AM: New Board Members Vote (Nicholas Chernoff)
9:20: Adjourn/Networking

Gregory Colon, Business Manager

The first speaker, Gregory Colon, Paraiso Restaurant manager, talked about their first year in business and how much Upham's Corner Main Street had helped him, and he offered an enthusiastic thanks to Max MacCarthy, executive director.  "When my mother and I opened the restaurant, we doubted if we could last a year. The restaurant needed a lot of promotion. Max helped us out with Facebook, Yelp and Twitter.  Getting an entertainment license was strongly advised so we met with all the neighborhood organizations and, finally, got the approval.”

 The Uphams Corner Street Fair in August was an opportunity they couldn't pass up. For one hour they offered free food and the restaurant was packed. Also because Street Fair events were scheduled on the plaza just outside, that helped draw crowds.  Gregory said he is excited about the Dining Guide prepared by Main Street which lets the community know about the restaurants in Uphams Corner. “If there is a show at 8 PM, then from 6 to 7:30, we have a crowd. So we have to make sure the bills are ready by 7:45 when the customers want to rush out.”

Ines Soto Palmerin, BRA

The second speaker, Ines Soto Palmerin, co-chair of the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s (BRA) Fairmount / Indigo Planning Initiative, emphasized the importance of businesses getting involved in the neighborhood. She herself has had 12 years of planning in Jamaica Plain and Roxbury and is hoping to bring her background “to this side of town,” as she described it. Praising the community folks who have been working towards Fairmount Indigo initiatives for over 10 years is how she started out describing the initiative. "There's been a lot of advocacy," she said "around the stations - lower fares and promoting the use of the commuter rail for access to jobs.” Ideally the Fairmount / Indigo line would function more like a subway system such as the orange line.

The Fairmount / Indigo Planning Initiative has four goals:
  1. Build on the past since so much work has already gone into this initiative
  2. Establish a growth strategy and planning for the future
  3. Make sure area residents and businesses do not get displaced (gentrification)
  4. Enhance opportunities at each station area
She described the Corridor Wide Advisory Group (CAG) consisting of 25 mayorally-appointed members and the Uphams Corner Working Advisory Group (WAG), consisting of 15 members. Most meetings take place at the Kroc center and the public is invited. She brought up the Leon building immediately adjacent to the Uphams Corner station which most people consider a community eyesore. It's a family owned business and the building is used as storage space, and they provide rental space for movie sets.  Developing that site will require a partnership.

Para Jaysinghe, Public Works

The third speaker, Para Jaysinghe, from Public Works discussed the infrastructure improvements project announced at the first WAG meeting in August.  “The City,” he said, “is absolutely committed to revitalization." The focus of the initiative is a section of Columbia road from Hancock to Dudley Street. "It has interesting dynamics,” he remarked. “We want to create the feel of an urban village.  We want to create an atmosphere friendly to pedestrians so the businesses can benefit."

“This is not,” he emphasized, “a planning exercise where planning goes on forever. With a $2.5 million budget, the project has a short timeline and we are hoping for shovels in the ground in one year.”  He listed the opportunities – sidewalks, roadways, streetlights – an overall improvement to the streetscape. "But we need your help. We want to enter into a construction dialogue about what we think are the challenges including the Strand Theater, the parking lot, the shortcomings and be able to talk through all of these. “ 

Camilo Pichardo, Business Owner

Camilo Pichardo, owner of Discount Shoes Store, provided testimony on how wonderful he thinks Uphams Corner is.  He's been a part of the community for over 12 years and a business owner for five years. "Thanks to Max," he said, "I am becoming a board member of Main Street. Max has helped me so much. He cares about everyone, worries about everyone. He is unstoppable.”  At that point, the entire room broke out into enthusiastic applause (and Max blushed). 

Full text of speech and interview with Camilo Pichardo.

Joan Tighe, Main Street Board Member

Joan Tighe introduced herself as a resident, a business consultant and Chair of the UCMS Restructuring Committee.  She shared with the group some of their initiatives:
  • Façade changes to 584 Columbia Rd where Boston Check Cashers is located
  • The American City Coalition and Utile Design will be helping figure out how to expand Brothers Supermarket
  • The upper floors of the Masonic building are being rented to commercial tenants in the arts and cultural world
  • They are also looking at parking and streetscape improvements

Joan briefly described The Boston Foundation's major grant award to develop and promote arts and culture in the Uphams Corner area which will be managed by Main Street, DSNI and DS4SI. Residents (anyone) are encouraged to contact Main Street to become active in the arts initiative.


Board chair Nick Chernoff introduce the FY-13 board member slate and with minimal discussion, the slate was approved by voice vote.  The new board members are Antonio Barros, Camilo Pichardo, Courtney Curran and Christopher Sylvestre.  They are replacing Arlindo Correia, Dahria Williams-Fernandes, Karl Duguerre, Matt Bruce and John O'Shea.

For more information, contact max@uphamscorner.org

Uphams Corner Main Street Annual Meeting 2012
Antonio Barros
Citizens Bank
Uphams Corner Main Street Annual Meeting 2012
Camilo Pichardo
Discount Shoes Store
Uphams Corner Main Street Annual Meeting 2012
Courtney Curran
Uphams Corner Main Street Annual Meeting 2012
Christopher Sylvestre
Sovereign Bank
Uphams Corner Main Street Annual Meeting 2012
Crystal Gandrud
Uphams Corner Main Street Annual Meeting 2012
Michelle Waldon
Uphams Corner Main Street Annual Meeting 2012
Joan Tighe
Uphams Corner Main Street Annual Meeting 2012
Rev. John Odams
Pilgrim Church

Posted: November 4, 2012     Nancy J Conrad

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