Upham's Corner Online

Upham's Corner SNI Meeting April 26, 2011

Posted: April 26, 2011     Nancy J Conrad

Roughly 12 people showed up for the Upham's Corner SNI meeting on April 26, 2011 held at The City School on Ramsay Street.  Matthew Feeney from the Dist. Atty.'s office convened the meeting just before 7 PM. 

The group decided each resident should identify the community issues bothering them.  SNI will keep track of progress made in dealing with these issues and provide feedback on the progress (including in the press). 

"The more we are able to talk positively about the accomplishments of the SNI organization, the more we will draw other people to attend the meetings." 

Issues were identified and discussed in detail.  This report also includes photos.
  1. Project Pride house
  2. Harrow Street garages
  3. Humphreys Street garages & Fleat Market
  4. Camilo Liquors
(See photos below)
The Project Pride house on Humphreys Street (between 29 and 23 Humphreys St - intersection of Humphreys and Gene Streets- trash all-around, in very poor condition and uninhabited.  Needs to be renovated or torn down.

Recommendation:  Since the entire length of Humphreys St has trash issues, schedule an NRT (neighborhood response team) walk down the street with SNI and neighbors invited to attend.

HarrowStreet garages (approx #20)  - someone is using garages on Harrow Street as an automotive repair site - repairing cars, looking cars in the air, changing oil, etc.  This is done late afternoon and weekends.  There are six (6) garages in use.

The Humphreys St garages are being used as a site to hold an outdoor flea market on weekends.  They take up the entire space in front of the garages and the sidewalk as well, so pedestrians have to walk in the street.  There are nine (9) garages in use.

Candace Sealey from Rep. Capuano's office stated that the issues identified thus far along Humphreys Street fall under the jurisdiction of inspectional services.  Once a complete list is compiled, it suffices to present these issues to inspectional services as action items.  She noted that every Tuesday she is involved with the neighborhood response team NRT that walks through Dudley Square.  The group includes inspectional services, MBTA police, BPD, several other organizations and elected the officials. She emphasized that although we are raising issues, it is important that we think about solutions.

The series of adjacent garages on Humphreys Street - on Saturday the the garages including the sidewalk is used for an open air flea market.  They completely block the sidewalk causing pedestrians to have to walk in the street.  When they closed shop, they leave a lot of trash behind.  One of the people selling goods claims to have some kind of vendor license but the rest of the people do not.

The residents were asked what they wanted to see to improve the safety and quality of life in the Humphreys St area.
  1. The flea market should discontinue operations on Humphreys Street
  2. The extensive car repairs should cease at the Harrow Street garages
Camilo Liquors -  People hang out in front of the liquor store all day. 

Many are alcoholics but there are also a couple drug dealers.  They are out in front of the liquor store all day long, from nine o'clock in the morning till 11 o'clock at night when they close.  There is panhandling, purchasing drinks for minors and purchasing drinks for people who are too drunk to purchase their own alcohol.   One of the police officers stated that at nine o'clock in the morning he sees people standing in front of the liquor store waiting for it to open.

One of the residents said she cannot walk down the liquor store side of Dudley Street because she's constantly harassed.  Another resident said  that when he tries to going to the store, he has to say: "Excuse me," just to get through the crowd of people in front.  "You can't even get into the store." 

Ideally, these people should be dispersed but then they cross the street and hang out in front of  El Frutero who are afraid of them.  When Tommy Brooks was here, he gave a citation to Camilo.  Camilo needs to get cited multiple times.  When that happens they will be called before the alcohol license and board.

Discussion
  • It's really important that the businesses have a No Trespassing sign in their front windows.  This helps the police deal with the people standing in front of the stores.  Without a No Tresspassing sign, it makes it much more difficult for the police to enforce movement of people.
  • A police officer stated that he's going to return (again) to Camilo liquors and say: "Look, the community is crying for this.  You need to call us when the guys are hanging out in front of your store.  You need to call us so we can come by." He then told us that if we (the police) are able to verify that the loiterers have been in front of the store long enough, we can arrest them.  But we need somebody to call.  We need somebody to tell us what's going on so we can say  "It's time to go.  You're disturbing people." 
  • Another police officer stated that the problem is not enforcement per se.  Rather it is the unwillingness of the businesses to call the police when people are hanging out in front of their stores.  El Frutero, for example, seems unwilling to call the police when the loiterers are right in front of their store.  What the stores are supposed to do is call the police and say: "Listen, these guys in front here, I need them moved."
  • The group felt that Zachary Cohen of Upham's corner Main Street should be at the next meeting.  They regard him as the interface with the businesses in the business district.  
Matt Feeney asked the group to clarify the geographical boundaries of the Upham's Corner SNI.
  •  East from Edward Everett Sq down East Cottage Street to the train tracks
  • To Quincy St
  • To Columbia Rd
  • To Bird St
  • To Hancock St
  • To Columbia Rd
  • To Edward Everett Square
Resident:  When Tommy Brooks was in charge of the Safe Street team, he gave us his cell phone number.  We could call him directly that abusing 911.  As a result there is a lot faster response to issues on Groom Street, for example, abandoned and stolen cars.  It would be nice to be able to get the same relationship back with somebody again on the Safe Street team.

At the end of the meeting Matt stated:  "This has been a very helpful meeting, one of the best we have had because we are addressing specific issues rather than just kind of talking about general problems in the community."

Matt Feeney will be discussing his notes with his superiors to see what actions might occur.

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