By Lauren Bennett
The Jamaica Pond Association (JPA) met for their monthly meeting on April 6, where they discussed various updates on different projects and happenings around town.
BPD District E-13 officer William Jones kicked off the meeting with a brief community safety report, saying that there were 12 less Part 1 crime incidents compared to last April. He also said that there has been an 18 percent reduction in Part 1 crimes so far this year compared to last year. For the past five years, every following year has done better than the previous year, jones said. “Every year has been the best year in 10 years,” he said, adding that there have also been 500-1000 less arrests citywide.
“When we build good relationships with community members and they want to include us in meetings like this…it spills back onto you,” Jones said.
The JPA has been having some concerns about the traffic lights on Rambler Road and Centre St. for a while, so State Rep. Nika Elugardo’s legislative aide Isabel Torres told the JPA that the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has ordered the new equipment and it should be fixed soon.
The JPA then moved to a discussion of some development updates. At 626 Centre St., the former site of the George’s Mobil Service Station, residents have been awaiting a presentation for what will happen to the site. On April 25, JPA Chair Rosemary Jones sent out an email saying that as of that date, “word from the owner’s architect is that the current plans will be modified and re-submitted to the City ISD.” As of the meeting on April 6, Jones reported that the project proponents were not going to go ahead with anything.
Last month, the JPA held a very well-attended meeting regarding the proposed marijuana dispensary at 769 Centre St. (AAA Appliance building). After nearly unanimous concern and opposition from the community at that meeting, the JPA voted to oppose the proposal. According to Rosemary Jones, the proponents “haven’t squeaked, haven’t made a move” since that meeting. “So far, they haven’t gone to anybody else,” she said, and the project seems to be on hold for right now.
JPA member Jamie Maguire spoke on behalf of the group that was formed to work on organizing the closing of the Jamaicaway for some Sundays in the summer. He said that the group is aiming for two Sundays—one in July and one in August—to close off the Jamaicaway from Perkins St. through Eliot St. from 12:00 to 6:00 pm. He said they have to consider home games at Fenway Park as well as other events where traffic would increase to avoid scheduling the closing on one of those days.
Maguire said that after a period of no response, DCR got back to them saying that they were looking into it as of the morning of April 6. “It feels like it’s going very slow,” Maguire said. “I don’t know how likely it is.” The group didn’t lose all hope, though, because they said that even if it doesn’t happen this year, they have put in the work and laid down a foundation to make it work for next year.
JPA member Michael Reiskind mentioned that the police are trying to recruit more kids for their JP Police Summer Camp. He said that last year they only had eight or ten kids, but they’re looking to increase it to 30. The cost is about $200 per kid, and at the last Jamaica Plain Business and Professional Association meeting, Reiskind said that Tree of Life announced that they were starting a GoFundMe page to raise the $6,000 needed to have 30 kids in the program. The goal was achieved last week, Reiskind said.
A resident on Bynner St. talked about the ongoing issue of intense traffic on Bynner St. and talked about things that have been discussed at the Bynner St. traffic calming meetings. He said that the street is “like the expressway at rush hour. I can’t get out of my driveway.” He said they have had a couple of meetings to talk about what can be done to remedy the issue, but he said he doesn’t believe the lights are timed very well.
JPA member Franklyn Salimbene said that he believes a three fold approach might work: speed bumps, making the street a one way to the VA, and some residential parking restrictions. The resident said that those are all things that have already been put forward. Another resident said that “there is not one parking meter in all of Jamaica Plain,” and the two hour parking restriction is not enforced.
Finally, Rosemary Jones talked about the Centre/South St. cleanup that happened on April 27. She said about a dozen people showed up at the South St. mall and they had a great time cleaning up the area. They are going to ask JP Centre/South for another weeding cleanup in two months.
The next meeting of the Jamaica Pond Association will be its annual meeting on June 3. The speaker will be DCR Commissioner Leo Roy.