Main Streets Revival

May 25, 2007
By

Sandee Storey

EGLESTON SQ.—The theme of the Egleston Square Main Streets’ (ESMS) networking breakfast and annual meeting on May 11 was clear. Many of the speakers told the crowd of more than 100 people gathered at the Roussin Center that the recent rebirth of the local Main Streets organization signaled a turnaround for the neighborhood.

The keynote speaker, local resident Curtis Henderson, general manager of the Boston Neighborhood Network (BNN) cable station, described the important redevelopment of an old building in the square into what will be BNN’s brand new training and working studio. He also announced a $1,000 donation from BNN to ESMS at the event.

“Fifteen years ago Egleston Square was abandoned,” said Onesimo Martinez, a member of the ESMS board, president of the Egleston Square Merchants Association and owner of La Rapidita. Then he asked for applause for all the people who “worked with us” to bring the neighborhood and Main Streets back to life.

ESMS board President Tim Reardon said, “Things looked grim for the local Main Streets initiative until Grace and Hope Church agreed to host the group and Bob Pulster of ESAC got behind efforts to bring back the group.

He thanked Mayor Thomas Menino, the Department of Neighborhood Development and Boston Main Streets for their help.

“Egleston Square continues to come back,” said Menino to the crowd. “It has dusted itself off and picked itself up again. People want to be here now.”

Executive Director Clarissa Quintanilla described the group’s activities over the past seven months, including: completion of a business district assessment and report; obtaining technical assistance for local business from the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation and the renovation of seven storefronts. She said goals for the next year include developing a marketing plan, perhaps establishing a farmers’ market and gaining financial independence through fund-raising.

ESMS meets the first Wednesday of every month at the Roussin Community Center on Washington Street at 6:30 p.m. For more information, call 522-7752 or go to www.eglestonsquare.org.