News from JP Centre/South Main Streets

March 2, 2007
By

JODI LIEF WOLK


Gazette Photo by John Swan
IN FASHION—Eva Budavari, owner of Eva B’s at 603 Centre St., talks to Mayor Thomas Menino and Department of Neighborhood Development Director Charlotte Golar-Richie about her dream of having her own shop during a tour of five new businesses Feb. 24. The mayor and JP Centre/South Main Streets staffers also visited nearby Sweet Christopher’s, Magda’s, On Centre and Serene Vibes.

Walk to a healthy, clean Centre/South district

Thanks to a grant from the Boston Public Health Commission’s Boston Steps program, JP Centre/South Main Streets (JP CSMS) will be implementing two new programs over the next year. Both programs are creative ways to attract the local community and JP visitors to the diverse commercial corridor along Centre and South Streets.

JP Walks
The first, JP Walks, is a two-pronged initiative designed to promote the business district and endorse a healthier lifestyle through walking more and driving less. By combining these concepts, JP CSMS hopes to encourage people to get out and walk and, specifically, to spend more time walking in the business district. The organization will design a walking guide of Centre and South streets in conjunction with the JP Historical Society, pass out pedometers to help people monitor their walking and work with local merchants to create special promotions to entice shoppers and diners.

In addition, the Boston Steps grant will provide funding for way-finding signs leading to and directing people throughout the business district. This need was voiced by merchants and residents at a community visioning meeting last winter as an important step in creating a more walkable district and ensuring that visitors can easily find the corridor whether from T stops or from major thoroughfares such as the Jamaicaway.

Clean Streets
The second program, Clean Streets, is focused on trash and litter reduction. JP CSMS will work closely with other neighborhood organizations to enlist businesses and residents in an ongoing campaign to reduce litter, educate the public and improve the look of the street.

Ultimately, walkability is one of the district’s most important competitive advantages in the never-ending contest with the big box stores and malls, and JP CSMS is dedicated to finding creative solutions to keep more dollars in JP.

JP Cooks for a Cause—Follow Up
In November, JP CSMS and other community groups came together to host JP Cooks for a Cause, where many local restaurants and a couple of retail stores generously donated a portion of their proceeds to a fire fund for the JP businesses that had been affected by last year’s fires. Fifteen local businesses and over 65 jobs were affected by the fires, and most of the businesses were forced to close or temporarily relocate.

JP CSMS thanks the committed and caring JP community who sent in donations for the Fire Fund and to those who dined out for Cooks for a Cause. The Fire Fund raised more than $8,000, which will be distributed to the affected business owners to help with their expenses. Three of the businesses (ASAP Lock and Key, Dogwood Café and El Oriental de Cuba) graciously declined to accept the donation and instead asked that their share be donated to the other businesses.

In addition, JP CSMS is extending special recognition to a few individuals who went above and beyond in their fund-raising and outreach efforts: Felicia Sanchez (owner, Centre Street Café), Kathie Mainzer (owner, Bella Luna and the Milky Way Lounge and Lanes), Phil Paik (owner, JP Seafood Café), Edith Murnane (JP CSMS Board Member), First Baptist Church and the Washington Street Business Group.

All of JP CSMS’s programs rely on the dedication and commitment of volunteers. There are many ways to get involved whether for a couple hours at an event or on a regular basis. For more information please contact this writer at info@jpcentresouth.org or 522-0300.

The writer is program manager of JP Centre/South Main Streets.