Letter: Task Force has track record of church site development

In the May 24, 2013 Gazette article “Church owners set deadline in negotiations,” the acting president of the board of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC), John Stainton, was quoted as saying that the Hyde Square Task Force has “not laid any groundwork” towards renovating the Blessed Sacrament Church building.

Apparently, Mr. Stainton is not aware of the Hyde Square Task Force’s track record in purchasing and developing property on the Blessed Sacrament Campus. Four years ago, the Task Force purchased the run-down Cheverus Building behind the church from the JPNDC and its partner, Peter Roth, for $1.3 million. Since then, our organization has done extensive renovations, including a repaired slate roof, and the creation of a dance studio, a music studio and a computer center. In fact, the previously empty Cheverus Building has been converted into a thriving youth community development center that serves several hundred local youths each day in nationally recognized arts, health, college prep and community organizing programs. These are at-risk youths who could not otherwise attend expensive arts and cultural programs that normally serve more affluent families.

Once the Hyde Square Task Force is able to purchase the Blessed Sacrament Church, we are fully confident that we will attract quality partners and investors who will join us in working towards our vision of a community cultural and performing arts center that will serve as the “jewel” of Boston’s Latin Quarter in Hyde/Jackson Square.

Since Mr. Stainton feels the need to publicly comment on the ability of the Hyde Square Task Force to develop the Church, I want to publicly invite him to visit our Cheverus Youth Center so he can see first-hand how the Hyde Square Task Force renovates and utilizes property for community uses.

Nelson Arroyo

President, Board of Directors

Hyde Square Task Force

Jamaica Plain

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