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Uphams Corner Main Street February 2013 Board Meeting

The February 2013 Uphams Corner Main Street Board Meeting took place on February 19 and covered several topics of interest to the community.

Filling New Position at Main Street

The most important agenda item was the “Meet & Greet.” The two top contenders (both females) for the “Cultural Events and Communications Manager” position were scheduled (separately) to spend a couple minutes with the Board sharing a little about themselves and their vision for the job.  The new position will be reporting directly to Max MacCarthy, Executive Director. 

Max said that about 15 people had applied for the position and that about a half-dozen were strong candidates.  “If neither one accepts the position, then there are more qualified people to choose from.” Max expects to announce who has accepted the position by the end of February 2013.  Board discussion about the candidates was held in Executive Session.

Welome to Uphams Corner Main Street

Businesses Asking to Borrow Money

The City of Boston assists small businesses in several ways including what are called “Store Front Improvement Projects,” typically new signage or windows. 

One of the merchants in Uphams Corner is interested in participating in the signage program.  The full cost of $5,000 is eventually fully reimbursable by the City.  However, the business must submit a $1,000 deposit to get the project started, an amount they cannot afford.

According to Steve Rumpler, Boston Main Street, this is a common problem throughout the small commercial areas of Boston.  An example of a Main Street that came up with a solution to this problem is the Eggleston Main Street.  In cooperation with Urban Edge, they established a “Deposit Loan Program,” which Steve says worked very well.

The Uphams Corner Board members expressed concern about making direct loans to the merchants as it sets a precedent.  Do they loan to everyone regardless of need?  For what purpose?  In fact, one board member noted that merchants had requested loans from UCMS in the past.

With a surplus in their account, UCMS is now in the position to make commercial loans but most of the members expressed reluctance to get “into the loan business.”  Deidre MacLeod, Board member, and Senior Loan Officer at Dorchester Bay, said they would be willing to serve as an intermediary.  UCMS could loan to Dorchester Bay which would then loan to the merchant.

Public Works Improvement Program

At the February 12, 2013 Public Works meeting, the recommendations set forth were acceptable to the group except for two areas:  moving the bus stops and eliminating parking on Columbia Rd.  Because of its impact on local businesses, the UCMS Board discussed some concerns and made suggestions.  Max will be passing on this information directly to Zachary Wassmouth, Principal Engineer for the project.

Fundraising Campaign

The fundraising campaign has already started and information on ongoing projects has already been sent to the primary funders.  Luncheon meetings will start taking place next week. This builds up for the big push for fundraising which takes place in March.

The annual fundraiser is scheduled for Thursday, June 13 at the Strand.  They organizers are thinking about having the event on the stage.  This has been done in the past very successfully.  Chris Cook will help with appropriate lighting that causes the “empty theater” to be a lovely backdrop to a stage event.

Posted: February 22 2013     Nancy J Conrad

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