Redevelopment would be good for the neighborhood

I am writing to express my strong support for the proposed redevelopment of the former Barbara McInnis House at 461 Walnut Ave. and in response to the article “Respite care facility draws controversy” (JP Gazette, Sept. 10). For over 15 years, Healthcare for the Homeless has been a wonderful neighbor. Through this proposed collaboration with the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) and the Pine Street Inn, I feel they will continue to uphold their positive reputation.

I have attended and reviewed notes from several of the community meetings. As a neighbor of the facility, I feel that this project will contribute to and strengthen our community.

I first moved to the area in 1993, the same year that the Barbara McInnis House opened its doors, and I’ve seen a dramatic upturn in our neighborhood. Property values have increased threefold, and the diversity of our neighborhood has remained strong. The Barbara McInnis House has been a contributing factor in both of these phenomena. The unfounded notion that re-opening this facility would be an issue of public safety is outrageous and offensive.

The three organizations involved are among the most responsible and respected in our city, and the goal of this project— helping homeless individuals deal with health issues—is one we can all support. Over the past weeks, several concerns have been brought up at various meetings. In my opinion, JPNDC, its collaborators and the architects involved have taken all these concerns under consideration and made all the necessary planning improvements. These partners have made countless changes to the proposed development in order to take into account street parking for Montebello Road residents, traffic flow on a one-way street and concerns regarding waste removal.

This has truly been a process that engaged the surrounding community and respected our concerns and needs. Over the past few years, several institutions have left our community due to increasing property costs. We now have a chance to keep one of these community partners in our neighborhood. As residents, it’s time for us to drop the mantra of “not in my back yard” and show some compassion.

Katie Barnes
Jamaica Plain

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