The Gazette’s top headlines from this week in JP history:
5 years ago: 2011
“Whole Foods likely to replace Hi-Lo”
Whole Foods had confirmed its plans to open a new store at 415 Centre St., replacing Hi-Lo Foods. Hi-Lo had been serving Jamaica Plain’s Latino community for 47 years.
“JP has definitely changed. Whole Foods would not have come into some parts of the neighborhood back in the day,” said state Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez.
He also noted that Hi-Lo was much more affordable than Whole Foods, in his experience. “When you go to Hi-Lo, you can get eight bags of groceries for $100. At Whole Foods, you can get three bags. Does that mean an entire population is going to have to change its diet?”
As of Jan. 19, 2011, the previous breaking story that the JP Gazette had published had received close to 6,000 page-views, making it by far the most popular story ever to appear on the site at the time.
10 years ago: 2006
“Council passes graffiti law”
Mayor Thomas Menino signed a graffiti removal ordinance into law that would levy fines against owners who do not remove graffiti from their buildings within 60 days.
City Councilor John Tobin recalled an incident where a racial slur was written on the side of a building, but it took months to sort out because the owner of the building lived in Ireland.
The law stated that fines of $100 would be imposed on the first offense and $200 for subsequent infractions. Property owners were encouraged to take advantage of the Graffiti Busters program, in which the City would offer free graffiti removal in the first 30 days.
The City had recorded an informal tally of 102 graffiti events in Jamaica Plain the previous year (2005).
15 years ago: 2001
“Debate continues about trolleys in JP”
JP has had a long standing debate about whether or not trolleys should be developed for light rail service from Heath St. to Forest Hills. In 2001, there was no resolution to a heated community debate on the topic.
Dennis A. DiZoglio, the MBTA’s then director of planning, told a group of 50 pro-trolley advocates that the decision would be in the hands of the state’s Department of Environmental Protection on May 2.
The MBTA hired a firm called Systra Consulting to perform a comparative study between trolleys and alternative modes of transportation along the route from Forest Hills to Park Street.
Opponents to MBTA expansion in JP claimed that the positives of light rail service would be offset by the questions of funding and traffic congestion, but many advocates said that the Arborway corridor could not only support light rail vehicles, but it could also thrive with them. They also wanted to eliminate hazardous bus emissions that were caused along the route.
DiZoglio had said that he understood why the community might not trust the MBTA, since it had failed to follow through on its promise 16 years prior to restore light rail service.
“What really disturbs me is that we’ve been on this treadmill for 16 years even though we know we ought to be doing better,” state Rep. Liz Malia said about the public perception that JP’s transit needs were not being addressed adequately by the MBTA. “The environmental problems [of diesel buses] have been allowed to continue without resolution. If there is an alternative to light rail, why don’t we have it?”
20 years ago: 1996
“Group home challenged”
Neighbors to a group home for mentally ill adults at 410 South Huntington Ave., who were long fed up with “the disruptive behavior of the residents there,” challenged a zoning change to the property, hoping to remove the home from the neighborhood.
Neighbors complained about behavior by the residents, including defecating on neighbors’ lawns, harassing neighborhood people, and generally disturbing the peace.
“They’re a constant threat,” Chris Consoletti said. “I won’t even walk in front of the building.”
“Last year one guy was exposing himself to people,” neighbor Sheila Larkin added.
Several neighbors had also spoken positively about the residents, saying that they saw the residents doing errands and other helpful things for people in the neighborhood.
Some residents also said that they were just fed up simply with the number of homes for the disabled that were in the neighborhood. “You name it we got it. The area is oversaturated,” said Jerry Rodgers, owner of Rodgers and Mann Funeral Home across the street.
Public meetings and Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA) meetings were consequently held after the publication of this article.