Wanted: Plan that’s good for Egleston Sq.

The following is excerpted from a letter sent to Mayor Thomas Menino with copies to Boston City Councilors and the Boston delegation to the Massachusetts Legislature on Sept. 8:

I want to take this opportunity to ask for your help and your intervention, not only for myself as a long-time resident of Montebello Road, but also on behalf of 90 percent of the residents of Montebello Road.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority hosted a public meeting on the redevelopment of 461 Walnut Ave. in Egleston Square. The Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) in association with Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) is trying to develop the former Barbara McInnis House there. The JPNDC and BCHCP have proposed significant renovations to the building and intend to operate a 20-bed respite care facility for homeless individuals on the first floor and include 33 enhanced, single room-occupancy rental units on the second and third floors.

I do not support the project as it was presented. You should be aware that over 90 percent of Montebello residents also do not support the project as it is. I support the idea of providing safe and decent housing for the homeless population and, in the process, eliminate homelessness in Boston.

I remember when many of us returned from the jungles of the unpopular Vietnam War, we also faced the stinging cold nights in the streets of many cities in America. Dealing with post traumatic stress and other problems, many veterans to this day are still homeless. So I, like the other residents of Montebello Road, while we support the elimination of homelessness in Boston, do not support the proposed plan for the building at 461 Walnut Ave. as currently designed.

Montebello Road residents have always been very involved in the daily life of the Egleston Square community. We support our local bodegas, eateries, gas stations, banks and drugstores. We have raised our children in this community.

As you well know, this is a very active and involved community. The residents of Montebello Road frequently invite a Boston Police district community service officer as well as the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services coordinator to its crime watch meetings. During a recent meeting that was held after the shooting incident on Washington Street, there were approximately 100 persons in my drivewa–the majority residents who are concerned about what happens in our streets in Egleston Square. Present at the meeting were representatives of the city, Police Commissioner Ed Davis, state Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz, state Reps. Liz Malia and Jeff Sánchez and City Councilors Felix Arroyo and Chuck Turner. As a community, we support each other and are involved in activities that are informative and beneficial to our neighborhood

We are very concerned about this proposal and once again ask for your intervention in this matter. JPNDC, as developer, should be sitting down with this neighborhood to develop a plan that will be beneficial to this community as well as the City of Boston.

Jaime Rodriguez
Jamaica Plain

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