Egleston Sq. Main Street sets goals

Rebeca Oliveira

EGLESTON SQ.—Egleston Square Main Street (ESMS) met at Greater Egleston Community High School on July 29 to discuss goals and organizational strategies.

Proposed long-term goals include the revival of a large-scale street party, to happen sometime next summer, and pressing forward with neighborhood cleanup and safety efforts. Cowan is also furthering the search to find new businesses to fill in vacant storefronts.

The group would also like to establish a recurring open-door event similar to JP Centre/South Main Streets’ First Thursdays and to organize more events at the Peace Garden at the corner of Washington and School Streets.

“Our goal is to organize and advocate,” Betsy Cowan, ESMS executive director, said.

The meeting, though sparsely attended, had a hopeful and determined tone. Cowan, Solomon Lemma of Egleston Liquors and Vice President of ESMS, Reyito Santiago and George Anastos, residents, said they were all committed to making Egleston Square a more vibrant and thriving place to live and work.

“It’s not going to be easy, but if you quit, you won’t make it,” Santiago said. “I know we can do it. I have faith in the vision.”

Attendance at Main Streets meetings has long been a problem, according to Cowan, because most business owners are working until closing time, later than meetings usually run.

But “No matter how many people come, we have to start something,” Santiago said.

As a first step to mobilize residents, the group agreed to flyer business owners to determine the best time to hold regular meetings.

The group is also considering sharing resident and merchant stories on the ESMS web site to foster a greater sense of community. Ideas for fundraising were also discussed, including reviving the Thanksgiving Turkey raffle.

Cowan said she is hopeful for the future of Egleston Square. “Little by little,” she said, they’ll make progress.

Along with partners Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation, Urban Edge and others, ESMS’s goals include revitalizing public spaces and trying to bring in new businesses to fill gaps in services, as well as help small businesses navigate city services.

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