|Uphams Corner - News Capsules|
Sponsored by the Improvement Association
The following items were discussed at the October 26, 2012 Improvement Association Meeting
- St. Kevin’s – Engaging the residents
- Dorchester North burying ground / comfort station
- Black baseball mural
- Pilgrim Church 150th Celebration
- Fairmount BRA website
- Youth Representation in the Fairmount Initiative
- WAG no-shows
- Holiday planning
- Salsa dancing at the UC Library
- Annapolis Neighborhood Meeting
1 St. Kevin's – Engaging the Residents
Even though the St. Kevin’s developers are not holding additional
community meeting, there is news. The Improvement Association
wants to make sure the residents are kept up-to-date on the project and
they want to make sure the residents feel like there is open dialogue
regarding their ideas, opinions and concerns. So UCIA will be
contacting residents who live in the immediate area to provide an
2 Dorchester North Burying Ground and the Comfort station
The comfort station outside the Burying Ground was a topic at the Aug
2, 2012 UCIA meeting. Max MacCarthy at Main Street is now working
with students from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard
University. They are looking at to how improve public access to
the Dorchester North burying ground. The comfort station will be
included in the initial assessment but he doesn’t know if they will be
making any recommendations about it.
Shemiram Fabian felt strongly that the building must be preserved in
some manner, that it adds to the character of the cemetery. Nancy will
be asking Max for contact information so that we can write a letter
regarding the Comfort Station and hopefully be in conversation with
them about their efforts.
3 Black Baseball Mural
Robert Woodson attended the August 2, 2012 UCIA meeting to learn more
about the poor condition of the black baseball mural. He has since
identified a potential source of funding.
In an earlier conversation with Robert, Nancy suggested that the
mural’s current location is marginal and may not be appropriate for a
mural dedicated to the Negro baseball leagues. He also stated that
Artists for Humanity is not invested in the existing mural. They're
happy to paint whatever we request.
There are currently two sets of murals in Uphams Corner, one at the
commuter rail and the other on the side of the Dorchester Bay building.
Both focus on immigrant populations from Cape Verde and the islands.
Given the heavily Spanish, African, Haitian and Cape Verdean
population, “Black Baseball” may be a concept that has little meaning
in Uphams Corner.
Suggestions have been made to replace the current mural with a "Welcome
to Uphams Corner" mural. Catherine remarked that it would be nice
to know that we are in Uphams Corner by seeing a sign that says
so. Shemiram said she would like the mural to focus more on what
is common to Uphams Corner rather than what defines our
differences. She would like to see a mural that is more all
Max suggested that, if possible, Uphams Corner apply for funding for
mural restoration without having to specify the mural content.
Designing the mural could be part of the project. In fact, it might be
appropriate for the mural to be handled within the purview of the
Boston Foundation's ArtPlace program.
4 Pilgrim church 150th Anniversary
The Pilgrim Church 150th Anniversary banquet is coming up on November
24. Uphams Corner News will be devoting an issue to Pilgrim, its
history and importance within the community and its current outreach
5 Fairmont BRA Website
While the BRA encourages public participation, anyone who cannot attend
meetings cannot easily contribute to the community conversation.
The only way to communicate is via e-mail directly to the BRA but this
does not make the comments available to the public.
Aaron previously identified this as an issue for himself and, we believe, has written a letter to the BRA.
Nancy will be writing a letter to the BRA from the Improvement
Association regarding this issue. She stated that at the last
corridor wide advisory group (CAG) meeting, she spoke with the chief
planner at the BRA regarding this issue. She stated that the BRA
website needs to be C2 capable, one that lets people login and make
comments. This is a normal method of dialogue in today's environment.
No updates from the BRA.
6 Youth Representation in the Fairmount Initiative
At the second WAG meeting, Andrea Kaiser, executive director of the
Bird St Community Center, raised the issue of youth representation (a
lack of it) on Fairmount advisory groups.
At the third WAG meeting, Max MacCarthy and Chris Jones, who are now
the newly elected WAG co-chairs, suggested that the group might want to
find ways to include the youth, either as members of the board or doing
special projects that reflect their unique views of the community.
7 WAG No-Shows
Max raised the issue of WAG appointees who have never shown up at any
WAG meetings. He is open to suggestions on what the group should do and
is willing to accept suggestions from anyone.
This topic was raised at the last UCIA meeting and garnered significant
conversation. See the notes from that meeting for
specifics. Nancy will be sending email to Max regarding the UCIA
8 Holiday Planning
Nancy met with Max on Oct 24 and passed on to him documents from last
year’s UCIA sponsored holiday party, both in hardcopy and
digital. Two events are being planned.
- Nov 26 - the tree lighting
- Dec 8 (tentative) - holiday party at the Strand.
As much as possible, the planners would like to get every stakeholder
in the community involved in one or both events including youth
organizations, schools, nonprofits and residents including
Nancy encouraged Max to use the same model as last year for giving out
gifts. Rather than looking for monetary donations to purchase gifts
which then have to be wrapped, the Improvement Association asked for
donations of used books and toys. When the kids arrived, they
waited in line to pick out their gift. It was a lot of fun and provided
an opportunity for interaction between the child and parents as often
the child wasn’t sure what to select. Nancy noted that this approach
has two advantages:
- Encourages members of the community to share
- Is more sustainable because it generates less waste.
9 Salsa Dancing at the Library
The central library sponsored the MetaMovements Dance Company to teach
Salsa seven branch libraries including the Uphams Corner library. At
least 24 people participated in the event in Uphams Corner including
residents, youth and librarians, and the event was fabulous.
MetaMovements first taught the eager group how to play salsa
instruments, and that was followed by teaching the well-known Spanish
dance, meringue. Then a pair of dancers wowed the group with a
In their blog, the dance company wrote: Last night we had an
amazing evening at the Uphams Corner Library in Dorchester, filled with
children, adults and seniors, many who hadn’t taken dance or music
classes before! We had such a wonderful time.
10 Annapolis Neighborhood Meeting
This was the first meeting of the Annapolis Neighborhood Association in
over a year. Attendance was high (approximately 50 people)
because of the anger of the residents about the conditions associated
with 27-37 Bakersfield St, also known as Bakersfield Arms. In
attendance was Wendy Rist, property owner, Chris English, Neighborhood
Services, Peter McCarthy of Steps to Solutions, a sober house, 6-8
graduates of the sober house program and many residents.
From the Problem Properties website
Wendy TS Rist
27-37 Bakersfield Street
Many incidents related to drug dealing and drug overdoses of residents.
Ms. Rist read a letter to the group which attempted to show that she
has always had good intentions. Mr. McCarthy’s program was being
targeted as a major cause of the problem. According to residents,
there were no problems until the sober house moved in. Regardless
of what either the group home members or the owner stated, the
residents remained incensed and continued shouting and interrupting
Bakersfield Arms consists of 24 units, eight of which leased by “Steps
to Solutions Medical Homes,” a sober house. The remaining 15 units are
rented to regular tenants, some of which are Section 8.
According to Chris English, the Problem Properties Task Force added the
property to the problem properties list after they investigated the
multitude of calls (25) and determined they highly problematic
including drug dealing and drug overdoses of residents.
The owner, Wendy Rist, determined that three of her tenants were the
source of many of the emergency calls so they have been asked to
leave. All three tenants will be gone by the end of
|Posted: October 26, 2012
Nancy J Conrad