O’Malley Talks Recycling, Jamaica Pond Celebration

The Jamaica Pond Association (JPA) met for their monthly meeting on March 2, where City Councilor Matt O’Malley provided an update on what he’s been working on.

As he enters his 10th year as District 6 City Councilor, O’Malley said that Boston has made “a positive impact on climate change,” and it is up to cities and towns to lead on this front.

One sustainability issue O’Malley has been tackling recently is how Boston will deal with trash and recycling moving forward, as the city has stopped making a profit on recycling.

“As a result of rising costs for recycling, many cities and towns are getting rid of it,” O’Malley said—though he promised it would not happen in Boston. However, he said that the City should move away from single-stream recycling and look towards curbside composting and textile recycling as alternatives.

O’Malley said that after pushing this issue with Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley and City Councilor Michelle Wu, Boston will have a subscription service starting this year for curbside compost—possibly this summer or fall. While it will save taxpayers money, there will still be a cost associated with the service, but it will “allow us to be smarter and more effective in our climate strategy,” O’Malley said.

Transportation also came up during O’Malley’s update. He said he supports extending the E line past Heath St. to Canary Square. “I fully support it,” he said. “I think there’s momentum for it.”

Franklyn Salimbene, a JPA member and activist for the extension of the E line, said that Rep. Nika Elugardo has called for about $400,000 for a feasibility study for the extension, but it has yet to be voted on. He said he has been meeting with O’Malley and Wu’s offices as well, and believes the city should allocate money towards this as well.

He said the idea would be to create a complete street, where pedestrians, cyclists, and public transit take up more of the road than cars do.

The topic of the building boom in the City also came up, and one neighbor asked a question about all the additional tax money coming in from the condominiums and other housing being built. O’Malley said that the tax money has allowed City property taxes to be kept “relatively low residentially,” and has provided for more city services.

He said that the city is paying down its pensions and liabilities, but enrollment in Boston Public Schools (BPS) has begun to dip as more young professionals move into the city and are having kids later, as well as the wider availability of other options for kids like charter schools. He said he would like to see more money be focused on BPS.

“We’re being good,” he said, but the City wants to make sure to spend money in a smart way.

Lastly, O’Malley announced that he would like to hold a celebration at Jamaica Pond this summer to celebrate the Jamaica Plain neighborhood. Though he just started initial planning, he hopes to have the party possibly some time in August, and feature a food truck and other activities for neighbors. He wants to “make sure everyone in JP and beyond comes and takes advantage of our backyard,” he said, and is looking for feedback from residents about what they might like to see in such a gathering.

Support work with Teens at the Mildred Hailey Youth Center

JPA member Micah Sachs gave an update regarding the extra support requested by Rep. Nika Elugardo at a previous JPA meeting for the support work going on at the Mildred Hailey Youth Center. Some local teens have recently been involved in crimes around the Jackson Square area, and Elugardo and others have been working with the teens and asked the JPA if they could help in any way.

The JPA decided that they could allocate no more than $500 to support the Mildred Hailey Youth Center, and Sachs reported on March 2 that he connected with the head of the Teen Task Force at Mildred Hailey, and they decided to purchase 20 $10 Stop and Shop gift cards for the kids to buy food, as many of them often do not have money to buy food.

“If there are additional needs, we are happy to keep supporting,” Sachs said, adding that the Tenant Task Force was appreciative of the gift card donation.

JPA member Ed Burley added, “It seems like an important way to balance out the giving we do in Jamaica Plain.”

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