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Top Notch Speakers at Fairmount Indigo Kickoff Celebration

Posted: February 21, 2012     Nancy J Conrad

The BRA Fairmount Indigo Corridor and Crossroads Planning Initiative (FICCPI) was officially blessed at a kickoff celebration at the Strand on February 21, 2012.  Mayor Menino spoke as did four others.  Marie St. Fleur served as MC.

The mood of everyone present was bright, cheerful, joyful.  As Mayor Menino stated, "Today we kick off a long awaited (and comprehensive) planning initiative . . ."

Highlights of Mayor Menino's Kickoff Speech

 This is an opportunity for the 130,000 people who live on the Fairmont indigo line area.  Today we kick off a long awaited comprehensive planning initiative to help realize the enormous potential up and down the corridor.  It's more than about extending the rail line.  It's about reducing the unemployment line.  It's about bringing new jobs, new investments and new opportunities to all of the neighborhoods.  It's about delivering results for the people who live here.  I believe it's also an opportunity for people to see what we have along the indigo line, the restorations that were done over the last several years.

I ask you to continue with this effort so that we achieve a Fairmont Corridor that works for all people.  Collaboration and working together - not an effort by one group.  It's about all of us working together so that everyone along that line has opportunity for a better future - housing, jobs and more customers for the businesses in those areas. 

$130 million has been invested to build four new T stops.  Think goodness we got the money before the deficit.  We have a $20 million in a Choice Neighborhoods grant.  Over the last decade the city has assisted over 100 small businesses, helped over 2600 people as first-time homebuyers or homeowners with their home repairs and built never nearly 7000 housing units.  Now the time to bring it all together to develop new strategies to bring in more capital investments to create more jobs and improve access to public transportation and support many of those businesses along the way.

But again I went thank you for all you've done and what you continue to do for the people who live along the Fairmont indigo line .  Together we can help more people climb the economic ladder and create a better stronger community.

Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative Kickoff 2/21/12 Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative Kickoff 2/21/12

Barbara Fields, Regional Administrator for the Boston Regional Office of HUD.Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative Kickoff 2/21/12

HUD has a lot of money in your neighborhoods.  That's where the money should be in the communities where they know how to get things done. $20 million in a Choice Neighborhoods grant, $1.8 million for the BRA committee challenge to do some planning.

I am supposed to be the eyes and ears for the secretary but I look at that as a two-way conversation .  I'm supposed to be bringing his message to you but I am also taking your message back.  What I say about Boston is that we know how to get it done.  So bring it on.  Bring the money here.  We have the leadership in the public sector. 

Thank you to the Mayor, thank you to the BRA, to DND , to all of those involved.  To the private sector, to Paul Grogan because he's the guy who got me in this business many years ago.  And to all the CDC's involved, that's where the rubber hits the road.

It's really about the partnership at the community level, the city level and at the federal level.  Today is one more step and there are many more to take.  I am thrilled to take it here in this community with all the people in this room because I am sure that each every one of you has taken part in this.


Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative Kickoff 2/21/12Curt Spalding,  Administrator for EPA's New England Region

It's a strange world to see EPA participate in these kinds of issues.  It's wonderful to see this kind of project take place.  This is all because of the Sustainable Community Partnership.

HUD, EPA and transit  are working together to create new kinds of outcomes across America.  We did a little film that's now on the White House website. 

So this is something that is gathering national attention. 

This is showing off Boston, what's happening here.  We actually feel like we've been part of the reinvigoration of Boston in so many ways. 

The Sustainable Community Partnership to which Curt refers is very important to Boston.  We look at its make-up and objectives and its relationship to the Fairmount Corridor project.

For more information about the Sustainable Communities Partnership, click here:

For more information about Curt Spalding, click here: 

Marvin Martin, Executive Director, Four Corners Action Coalition

About 14 years ago Four Corners residents had a vision for better transit access - access to jobs, to economic opportunities , better education, better shopping and real equity.  We would sit on Washington Street where the Fairmount line runs and we would watch the commuter rail come and people would be sitting there reading the newspapers.  After the train goes by, the people inside have 15 minutes to South Station.  Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative Kickoff 2/21/12

Then the number 23 bus would come.  No matter what time of the day, people would be standing up and the bus would be jampacked. So we asked the Secretary of State and the head of the MBTA to come to Four Corners using the number 23 bus.  And sure enough they were standing when they arrived.  The secretary said is a no-brainer.  We just have to figure out how to make it work. 

That's how this whole initiative got started.  It wasn't just a Four Corners vision.  This vision has been going on for some time through the efforts of folks like Rev. West  who fought to keep this line open when they were going to close it.  And folks like Councilor Charles Yancey who made sure the Fairmount Line was upgraded.  Morton Street and Upham's corner were added to the line at that time. 

But the vision got enhanced.  The CDC's came along and said we want to work on this too.  They said they were concerned about the possibility of gentrification.  So they purchased the land to keep it out of the hands of speculators. 

Then we created another piece of that vision - the Greenway initiative which we have been working on with some of the same partners.   So start with the transit piece, then look at jobs.  This is all about regional equity and it starts with the local community.  So if you look at the Fairmount line, most of the folks who worked on that have come from the community.

Transit provides access for people of color to other communities.  We don't have to have that, but all we will get is part time jobs.  So we are hoping that as we create transit access for Four Corners into the system that people will be able to get jobs and that there will be jobs waiting for them.

View Greater Four Corners Action Coalition website : http://www.gfcac.org/

Gail Latimore, Executive Director, Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation

I want to say thank you to Mayor Menino on behalf of the Fairmont CDC collaborative .  I thank you for your ongoing leadership on community development issues such as affordable housing development, business district and economic development and the development of the transportation infrastructure that supports people's ability to access social and economic activities. Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative Kickoff 2/21/12

We're looking forward to working with the BRA, DND and other parts of the City to implement the Fairmont indigo planning initiative.  This initiative is critical to envisioning and stimulating economic development within the neighborhoods along the Fairmount line.  We are pleased that in undertaking this work, the City will draw upon the many plans, perspectives and resources that have been developed for the Fairmount by multiple partners over the last decade.

Thanks to Marvin Martin's pioneering work, working closely with grassroots groups and residents, state and elected officials, around 2000 the Fairmont Indigo line which goes straight through the heart of our neighborhoods but did not adequately serve the economic mobility needs of our residents, the line was put back on the map because of Marvin's work.

The work spearheaded by the Four Corners Action Coalition resulted in commitment to install for new stops on the line.  That work also provided the foundation for the three other initiatives that Marvin mentioned that have gotten into operation since 2004.  And which have done significant planning and implementation work designed to improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods.
First Collaborative Collective

The first is the Fairmont CDC Collaborative which consists of three CDC's – DBEDC, Jeanne DuBois, Codman Square NDC and Southwest Boston CDC. 

Those CDC's are focused on developing mixed use, transit oriented urban villages within a half-mile radius of each of the four and two existing stops on Fairmont in our neighborhoods.  The CDC's have already developed hundreds of units of affordable housing along the line and have a pipeline of over 400 units of housing with thousands of feet of ground floor commercial space slated for development within a half-mile radius of those stops over the next three years. 

The City has continued to be a critical partner in supporting the CDC's to achieve the transit oriented urban village that we have.  We look forward to working with the City to implement activities related transit oriented development through the recently awarded HUD community challenge grant.

Second Collaborative Collective

The second collective focused on the development of the Fairmount line is the Fairmount Indigo Coalition composed of the three CDC's, the Quincy Geneva New Vision Housing Corp, The Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative, Project Right and the Greater Four Corners Action Coalition, Conservation Law Foundation.  This coalition has, for the past seven years, focused on transit equity issues including fair fares on the Fairmount line, evening and weekend service and more environmentally sustainable technology on the line.

Third Collaborative Collective

The third collective is the Fairmont Greenway Task Force composed of all the previously mentioned parties along with the Boston Natural Areas Network as well as 02136 - All things Hyde Park. 

The task force is working to green the Fairmount corridor.  The greenway plan that has developed includes
  • passive recreational spaces and bike paths
  • links existing green amenities in our neighborhoods to the Fairmount line. 
Residents of the community spent two years identifying and visualizing the uses of over 150 underutilized or the vacant lots along the Fairmount line in developing this plan.  All this work is been done with the input and engagement of hundreds of community residents, civic groups and nonprofit agencies.

Closing Remarks

Increasingly we are working with other local nonprofits as well as state and national partners in the pursuit of this work.  Our federal partners, HUD, DOT and the EPA have also supported our work by providing technical assistance resources for our transit oriented development, housing development work and environmental remediation resources to clean the Brownfield sites in our neighborhood. 

The comprehensive nature of our work with multiple partners a few years ago also earned us the national recognition from the feds where we were selected, the Fairmont corridor, as one of only five national sustainable community pilot sites.  And we are very proud of that.

So much work has been done.  Much remains to be done.  We will fully engage with the BRA Fairmont indigo planning initiative and we will work closely with the City to facilitate the connections to this work to each of the collaborative collectives that I spoke about with the goal of meeting the needs of low to moderate income workforce focused residents, the residents that we serve. 

Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation website:  http://www.csndc.com/

Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative Kickoff 2/21/12 Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative Kickoff 2/21/12
Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative Kickoff 2/21/12 Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative Kickoff 2/21/12
Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative Kickoff 2/21/12
Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative Kickoff 2/21/12 Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative Kickoff 2/21/12
Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative Kickoff 2/21/12 Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative Kickoff 2/21/12

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