Health center looks to expand community programs and space
Minding Our Own Business
JP CENTER—Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center (SJPHC) on the corner of Centre and Green streets was crunched for space. Dahn Yoga, just feet away on Green Street, closed last spring, leaving a vacant storefront.
SJPHC has announced plans to use the 2,500-square-foot space for offices and movement classes of its own, including yoga.
After a presentation by SJPHC Executive Director Tom Kieffer on Jan. 20, members of the Jamaica Plain Business and Professional Association board of directors voted overwhelmingly to support the proposal.
“This is for the health of the whole person,” Keiffer said in a later interview. “We are really excited that community programming has grown so much over the years.”
The use requires a zoning variance, and a hearing before the zoning Board of Appeal has been scheduled for Feb. 23. The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council Zoning Committee was scheduled to hear the plans on Feb. 4 after the Gazette goes to press. The Jamaica Pond Association recently voted not to oppose the variance.
SJPHC will offer movement classes in yoga, tai chi, meditation and other forms, according to Kieffer.
The offices for young people who work in a peer leadership program at the health center, sponsored by the Hyde Square Task Force and the office for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition program, will be housed in a big room at the back at 10 Green St., which stretches all the way to Greenview Avenue. No medical services will be delivered in the new space, he said.
“This will release some space” in the existing, busy building at 640 Centre St., Kieffer said, describing a conference room that is now also used by the leadership program and for yoga classes.
Kieffer said only cosmetic changes will be made in the new space and will take about a month to complete. The JP Animal Clinic will remain in between the health center and its new space.
SJPHC’s affiliate, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, will pay the rent for the added space—which will be on a 10-year lease, with an option to renew—as part of its community programming, Kieffer said.
“It is a big commitment from the Brigham,” he added, saying the health center’s community board was “instrumental” in getting the hospital’s agreement.
He said he also appreciated the positive response the plan has gotten from the JP community.